Court raid: no protection for witnesses

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The 19 people listed as witnesses in the R46million FNB robbery have not been placed under a protection programme after dockets concerning the case were stolen by criminals from the Johannesburg high court on Sunday.

Both the police and national prosecuting authority (NPA) could not say exactly how they planned to deal with the theft yesterday. They also could not say anything about witnesses.

There are fears that the criminals could target the witnesses.

Police spokesman director Govindsamy Mariemutho said: "If the witnesses feel threatened they should approach the police and prosecuting authority."

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said: "We do not discuss the status of witnesses with the media."

Director of public prosecutions Charin de Beer said: "I do not know anything about the witnesses' security."

A gang attacked the FNB depot on February 2006 and assaulted 19 staff members before making off with the R46million.

The gang members used a security access card to enter the depot and ordered the 19 witnesses at gunpoint to lie down.

The gang wore security guard uniforms and loaded the R46million in a minibus they had parked at the entrance.

Police arrested them as they were making their escape.

A day before they were to appear in court another gang attacked the court and stole the case dockets from prosecutor Deon van Wyk's office.