MBATHA A 'LIAR'

SUSPECTED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha was branded a liar as shocking evidence of alleged collusion between him and police emerged during his bail application yesterday.

SUSPECTED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha was branded a liar as shocking evidence of alleged collusion between him and police emerged during his bail application yesterday.

This was heard in the Germiston regional court.

The Pretoria socialite made headlines when he was arrested in connection with a string of crimes including car theft, housebreaking, possession of an illegal firearm and tax offences.

Before his arrest, he was on R15000 and R50000 bail granted by the Germiston magistrate's court and the Gauteng North High Court respectively.

As she set about to undo Mbatha's attempts to get a third bail yesterday, state advocate Willemien Vos told magistrate Masisi Mlaba that the socialite was "less than honest" during his bail application in the Gauteng North High Court.

Apart from subsequently violating his bail conditions, the 36-year-old went on to commit more crimes, the court heard.

In opposing bail, Inspector Abrahan Heyns of the Crime Intelligence told the court that a cellphone and two SIM cards were found in Mbatha's Boksburg police cell.

During his previous and current bail applications, Mbatha made affidavits claiming to be a director and a shareholder at Ram Square Tavern in Atteridgeville. But it emerged yesterday that this was not true.

"I have found that he resigned in June last year," said Heyns.

Mbatha was rearrested last month after one of his alleged victims saw his pictures in the newspapers and alerted the police.

The complainant told the police that he was pulled off the road by Mbatha and three accomplices who were driving a BMW fitted with police lights on April 4.

They drove to his house in Brackenhurst (Alberton) where they allegedly held his family at gunpoint before stealing two guns, expensive jewellery, a lap-top and R250000.

But little did they know that the drama was being captured on CCTV cameras.

It was sensationally revealed yesterday that police destroyed the video footage, further strengthening suspicions that the suspected criminal has high-ranking police officials on his payroll.

Heyns testified that Mbatha, who was ordered by the high court to surrender his passport to the police, subsequently retrieved the travel documents under the pretext that he was visiting London to attend an event organised for former president Nelson Mandela in June last year.

"This passport shows that he never visited London during that period. He never returned the passport as per agreement," said Heyns.

He said some of the crimes were committed while on bail and that there is no guarantee he might not commit more crimes should the court set him free.

The state further quoted newspaper articles showing that his last release on bail sparked a public outcry.

A fortnight ago, his wife Yvonne Mbatha had to get a lift back home after the couple's 4.8 IS BMW X5 was confiscated by cops outside court after it was found to be using a licence disc that had expired on March 31 2007.

On the same day about 700 sympathisers rocked up in two buses and 10 minibus taxis chanting: "This man is innocent."

Yesterday, close friends and family turned up.

Mbatha enlisted the services of Advocate Jack Gerbe after firing the previous one last week.

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