ANOTHER robbery victim has fingered William "Mashobane" Mbatha, forcing the suspected crime mastermind to abandon his bail application yesterday.
The Atteridgeville, Pretoria, socialite is hogging headlines after being arrested in connection with a string of robberies and hijacking of cars. He is currently on R50000 and R15000 bail fixed by the Germiston magistrate's court and the North Gauteng high court respectively.
As they trickled into the Germiston regional court earlier yesterday, defence advocate Jack Gerber, Mbatha, and later his family and friends, appeared upbeat at the prospect of securing a third bail.
But state advocate Willemien Vos spoilt it all for them by dropping another bombshell in her latest bid to keep him incarcerated.
"Your worship I have new documents which I will read into the record before handing in as evidence," she said, addressing magistrate Isabelle Mlaba.
At this stage Gerber sprung to his feet. "Your worship this is new to us. The prosecutor can't just keep on introducing new documents without first giving them to me so that I can get fresh instructions from my client," he said, further accusing Vos of "treading on dangerous territory".
This caused Mlaba to stand the matter down.
When the case resumed a few minutes later Gerber dramatically announced: "My instructions at this stage are to abandon this bail application. We are abandoning bail."
With a big smile on her face Vos remarked: "This a strange turn of events."
She declined to say what the documents contained.
But Gerber later said that another woman who was in court last week identified Mbatha in connection with "some alleged robbery".
"We can't risk him being released on bail and then rearrested, released and rearrested. We will bring a bail application in due course," he said.
Gerber, who is confident of an acquittal, said there appeared to be "some concerted effort by police to keep Mbatha in jail".
"In America they investigate before arresting, but here they arrest and investigate later," he said.
Describing Mbatha's state of mind, his childhood friend Hlaki Mothabela said: "He is strong but frustrated as well. He has hope.
"It is frustrating him to be behind bars for such a long time, especially over such a lousy case."'
Although Mbatha's rented crowd has stopped demonstrating outside court, Mothabela insisted his Facebook supporters have grown from 1500 to 3400 in three weeks.