Heist accused Velile Present coy about his income
A former ANC employee implicated in a cash-in-transit heist in Soweto rents a property for R9 500 a month but wouldn’t provide the court with details about his income.
He told the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday that he was assaulted and tortured by the police who wanted him to confess to having committed the heist in Dobsonville‚ Soweto‚ and claimed his wife was also tortured.
Present and his co-accused‚ Itumeleng Manama‚ Bheki Biyela and Zakhele Zondi‚ appeared in court for the continuation of their bail application. They were arrested on July 6 and 7 and charged with armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles.
Present said he lived on an estate in Grobler Park‚ Roodepoort‚ and was paying R9 500 for rent. Asked how much he earned while he was employed at Luthuli House‚ he said: "I’m not comfortable divulging that information."
Neither would he tell the court how much his wife‚ who is a laboratory assistant‚ earned.
He said that on July 6 he was cornered by police when he was going to his uncle's house in Dobsonville to help him run errands.
Present then asked his mother to leave the courtroom because he was about relay details about his alleged assault.
"When we got to the police station‚ my hands were bound from the back. I was made to lie on the floor. They used a plastic bag to cover my head and a sellotape was used to tighten the plastic bag. They then assaulted me all over my body. I am not sure what instrument they used to beat me up with.”
He said he collapsed and‚ after regaining consciousness‚ was asked to tell the truth. "When I told them I don't know anything about a heist‚ they said I will know."
Present said he was again suffocated with the plastic bag and "they drowned me in water and I overheard one of them saying they must add more water". When he asked why he was being assaulted‚ he was told the police wanted the money taken during the heist. Present denied being involved in the heist‚ despite being implicated in three other heists.
Four hijacked vehicles were recovered‚ two of which were apparently used in the heist outside Capitec Bank in Elias Motsoaledi Road‚ Dobsonville.
Present was the Dobsonville ANC branch secretary in Soweto and a national ANC organiser until the party removed from his position at Luthuli House after he was arrested.
He said reports that he was volunteering in the ANC‚ were a "joke". "I'd say that it's a joke that I would volunteer for 14 years."
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