Bank suspects in the dock

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Two suspects appeared briefly before a magistrate court in Mpumalanga yesterday in connection with an attempted bank robbery at the Carolina branch of the First National Bank.

Sihle Royal Radebe, 28, and Bongumusa Alton Mbele, 27, were not asked to plead to charges of armed robbery, pointing of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

They were both remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on December 12.

The two were arrested last week following a high-speed car chase by police on the streets of Senobela Township near Carolina. Police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi said the drama started inside the bank where three suspects queued with other bank clients while a fourth suspect waited at the door.

"As soon as the first suspect reached the counter window, he pointed a firearm at a bank teller and the other three also produced firearms before announcing that they were carrying out a bank robbery," said Hlathi.

"The robbers instructed bank clients to lie down while some of them asked bank staff to take them to a safe that was loaded with cash. While the bank officials were still taking the robbers to the safe, one of the robbers accidentally fired his gun."

l Meanwhile, police are still looking for three bank robbers who robbed the Delmas branch of the FNB of more than R100000 and killed a security guard on September 29.

The suspects, believed to be foreigners, have not yet been arrested despite the publication of their identikits recently in Sowetan.