Bleak Xmas for 'crime master'

SUSPECTED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha is set to spend Christmas behind bars.

This after the Germiston regional court postponed his bail application hearing to Monday.

It was the second setback for the "King of Bling" in two weeks. He was denied bail in the same court on a separate robbery matter.

His lawyer, Jack Gerber, said they would launch a high court appeal in a bid to overturn an earlier decision that denied him bail. He said the urgent appeal was delayed by paperwork. Mbatha is being held at Boksburg Prison in Ekurhuleni.

The "King" from Atteridgeville in Pretoria, has been in jail for over four months after being arrested in connection with a cocktail of house robberies, kidnaping and impersonating a police officer.

Before his latest arrest he was out on R50000 and R15000 bail, granted by the Germiston magistrate's court and Pretoria high court, respectively.

Mbatha was rearrested in September when another robbery victim fingered him, forcing the flamboyant nightclub and taxi owner to abandon his bail application.

At one point dozens of Mbatha's supporters were brought to court in two luxury buses and 10 minibus taxis. His Facebook supporters grew from 1500 to 3400 in three weeks. But these sympathisers vanished soon after ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula warned against glorifying criminal activities.

The prosecution has already labelled Mbatha a repeat offender who will not repent.

"He is a repeat offender who can not desist from criminal activities. After spending years in jail, he graduated to committing serious offences," prosecutor Willemien Vos told the Germiston regional court at the time.

Mbatha hit back, accusing the media, police and public of conspiring to keep him in jail.