Magistrate puts her foot down

Benson Ntlemo

Benson Ntlemo

Five alleged robbers who appeared in court in connection with the robberies of top businessmen, Van Rooy Baloyi and John Simangu, in Malamulele, outside Giyani, in Limpopo, have been warned that the trial would go ahead with or without their lawyers on December 14.

Malamulele regional court magistrate, Ms M Viljoen, postponed the case to next week after most of the accused claimed that their legal representatives were not in court.

Viljoen told them that the case would go ahead next week, and warned them to bring along their lawyers. She said those who could not afford a lawyer should apply for a state lawyer.

The case is a sequel to incidents from March to December last year when three businesses were continuously robbed at gunpoint. They are GV Progress owned by Baloyi, Ziphi's owned by Simangu and a third one based in Saselemani, also in the vicinity.

The five men who appeared included Adonis Ike Hlungwani, whom police allege is a kingpin who is facing other charges in other areas.

The others are Robert Mabiza, 51, William Simangu, 45, Gerry Clever Tembo, 23, and Hasani July Shivambu, 34.

Except for Shivambu, who is a South African, the other four accused are Zimbabweans.

They are appearing on three counts of robbery.

After the postponement, businessmen Baloyi and Simangu looked relaxed.

They said they did not have a problem with postponements as long as justice ended up taking place in the long run.