CAPTURED on Cctv stealing

AT 10.41am on July 22 last year Vusi Twala, 35, is captured by closed-curcuit television standing behind councillor Godfrey Mbethe in a bank.

A few minutes later he follows Mbethe, who has just withdrawn R7000 from the bank in Benoni, Ekurhuleni. This is the last time Mbethe is seen alive. But his bank card is used several times during the day.

Twala was in court yesterday charged with murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and fraud.

The state alleges Twala and four other suspects kidnapped, robbed and then killed Mbethe, whom police now presume to be dead.

Twala was denied bail in the Benoni magistrate's court after a state prosecutor labelled him a dangerous repeat offender and flight risk.

Prosecutor Cornel Pistorious told the court that apart from being seen following Mbethe out of the bank, he was captured by CCTV cameras several times.

lFootage shows Twala at Naledi Mall in Vosloorus, where R1000 was withdrawn from Mbethe's account at an ATM.

lTwala at Eastgate Mall, where further transactions were made with Mbethes' debit card.

lA SIM card that was inserted in Mbethe's cellphone between July 26 and August 13 was found in Twala's possession when he was arrested on November 21 in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, his home town.

lTwala was also found with a brown Uzzi jacket bought at Eastgate Mall.

lIn 1991 and 1993 he was convicted of theft in Ladysmith.

lTwala has a pending case of robbery similar to the Mbethe matter. The victim was also followed from a bank after withdrawing R15000 and robbed at gunpoint. Twala had three or four accomplices.

Investigating officer Captain Frikkie Steyn said one suspect, Christopher Mbatha, had phoned him saying he was willing to be a state witness

He said he was still waiting for him and they were following strong leads on the other suspects. "I have their pictures and names."

Mbethe's account, which contained more than R22000, was cleaned out on the day he disappeared.

Magistrate Ian Cox agreed there was gathering evidence against Twala. He denied Twala bail because the "evidence makes a strong case against Twala", which may motivate him to abscond.

Meanwhile a total of 100 community members from Etwatwa, where Mbethe lived, gathered at the court to lend support to the family. They had threatened to deal with Twala if he was released.