×

We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Woolworths ‘Mercedes looter’ says he's broke and needs legal aid

Orrin Singh Reporter
Mbuso Moloi faces theft and public violence charges after allegedly looting a store in Durban. File photo.
Mbuso Moloi faces theft and public violence charges after allegedly looting a store in Durban. File photo.
Image: Orrin Singh

The 30-year-old Mercedes-Benz driver who went viral on social media after being captured on video footage allegedly looting a Durban Woolworths store during last year's July unrest says he is “broke”. 

A smartly dressed Mbuso Moloi appeared in the Durban magistrate’s court on Thursday and was expected to plead guilty to charges including theft, trespassing and operating a vehicle without a corresponding number plate.

But Moloi's attorney withdrew his representation, saying his mandate had been terminated. He was the second attorney dropped by Moloi in the case.

The self-employed tenderpreneur, who owns two vehicles and lives with his parents in Cowies Hill, near Pinetown, told the court he was broke and had no money for private representation. 

He said he had entered into a plea bargain with the state and intended to do whatever was discussed in their meeting. 

“We sat down a few weeks ago with the SPP [senior public prosecutor] and we discussed everything. Whatever we discussed that day I intend to do.” 

He would not elaborate further but raised concerns about the number of counts he had been charged with. 

According to Moloi, during negotiations with the state he had agreed to seven of the eight counts.

But Moloi's hopes of having his matter finalised on Thursday were dashed when the legal aid representative informed the court the businessman did not qualify as his income did not match the requirements for free representation. 

Mbuso Moloi talks to investigating officer Warrant Officer Rajan Govender outside court on May 19 2022.
Mbuso Moloi talks to investigating officer Warrant Officer Rajan Govender outside court on May 19 2022.
Image: Orrin Singh

“He has to undergo a means test at Legal Aid. He said he is having some financial problems but would go to Legal Aid and do a means test. He hasn't given me the full details of his income.”

The matter was remanded to May 31 to allow Moloi to make an application at the Legal Aid offices. His R5,000 bail was extended. 

Moloi went viral after the DA leader in eThekwini, Nicole Graham, shared a video of him walking out of a Woolworths store in Glenwood with a basket which he then loaded into a Mercedes-Benz at the height of the unrest. 

He initially told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE he was not looting and that the incident had been taken out of context.

“I picked up things that were outside, not inside. I did not step inside Woolworths,” he said at the time.

But Graham poured cold water on his statements when she shared a longer video of Moloi walking out of the store.

TimesLIVE


Would you like to comment on this article? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.