THE Mapulaneng magistrate court was filled to capacity yesterday when four men, charged with a R10000 armed robbery at Pep Store in Acornhoek, successfully applied for bail.
Prominent Acornhoek businessman Nicholas Mgiba, 34, Willies Madala Khoza, 62, Jethro Chauke, 19, and Andrew Monareng, 24, were not asked to plead to charges of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances.
They appeared before senior magistrate George Risimati, who granted them R5000 bail each and warned them to return to the same court on July 13.
Defence lawyer, Mpho Mashiloane, who represented the accused, submitted a written statements signed by the men in which they gave reasons to substantiate their application for bail.
Risimati challenged Mashiloane over the the lnumber 5, which was apparently illegible in one of the statements the lawyer had submitted.
"Do you want me to believe this is a 5 Mr Mashiloane?" Risimati asked.
"I apologise your worship," Mashiloane responded.
In his statement, Khoza told the court that he was residing in Cottondale and working for accused number two.
Khoza confirmed that he had a previous conviction of a burglary and was still on parole until August 26 2010.
Chauke said he was staying in Lulekani, near Phalaborwa, and did not have any relative outside South Africa.
Mgiba confirmed he was self-employed and also said he would deny the charges against him.
Monareng, who was arrested four days after the arrest of the first three suspects, was sworn in while Risimati helped him apply for bail since he had no lawyer.
Investigating officer Inspector Dolph Malomane said police had found two firearms from the accused and that one of the firearms had been stolen in a burglary in Modjadjieskloof near Tzaneen.
The men were arrested after the Pep's Store robbery on May 24.