fnb six tried to prevent r46m robbery

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Six FNB staff members tried to prevent the robbery of R46 million by locking themselves inside the strongroom where the money was stored.

This was evidence heard yesterday in the Johannesburg high court in the trial of nine men accused of robbing a Johannesburg FNB cash point in 2006.

Elias Thutse, 34, Fabian Damons, 32, Daniel Mathaba, 42, Dick Ngobeni, 26, Jimmy Bilankulu, 37, Muntu Mahlangu, 42, Vincent Xaba, 29, Themba Mahlangu, 32, and Simon Mncwango, 40, are on trial for armed robbery, attempted murder and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

They have pleaded not guilty.

In video footage taken by CCTV cameras during the robbery a 40- minute clip shows two men, one of them identified as Muntu Mahlangu, trying to negotiate with a female FNB employee to open the door and come out of the vault.

Five minutes later the men had failed to convince the woman. A visibly irritated man then draws a gun and threatens to shoot, but the woman resists.

He disappears for a few seconds and comes back with an R5 rifle in one hand and a crowbar on the other. Afraid of what might happen if the robber breaks the gate and enters, the woman appears from a corner, opens the door and raises her arms.

Two more of her colleagues follow her out. Mahlangu and the other robber walk into the storeroom and drag out three other employees who had been hiding.

The six employees are forced to lie down while the robbers, now four, make more that 15 trips in and out of the storeroom collecting boxes full of money.

The action lasts for about 20 minutes until the robbers are surprised by a policeman "who appeared out of nowhere", pointing a gun at them.

It was earlier heard in court that the SAPS National Crime Intelligence Unit had been informed about the planned robbery three days before it happened.

They waited for the men to carry out their plan in order to catch them in the act.