No proof suspect was Present during heists

Errol Velile Present.
Errol Velile Present.

Police Minister Bheki Cele may have jumped the gun when he said the former Luthuli House employee charged with armed robbery, was also linked to two other cash-in-transit heists.

The Roodepoort Regional Court yesterday heard that allegations made by Cele, connecting Errol Velile Present to two North West cash-in-transit heists were not true.

This came out during the testimony of Colonel Solomon Mabasa, the investigating officer in the matter, who said Present could not be linked to the allegations.

He was being cross examined by Present's lawyer, Ben Modumaela.

"Initially he was linked to two North West heists, but the cases will no longer be coming. There are no pending cases against Present," Mabasa told the court.

Cele told the media on July 19 that Present was linked to three other heists in North West.

At the time, Cele said: "This is his third (alleged) cash heist . He works for the organising department on a temporary basis at Luthuli House."

Cele said Present had missed two previous court appearances on charges, including alleged drunk driving.

However, it was revealed that Present only has an outstanding warrant of arrest for reckless and negligent driving.

"But I cannot recall the month and year he (Present) was charged," Mabasa said.

Present and his co-accused, Itumeleng Manama, Bheki Biyela and Zakhele Zondi, were arrested in July in connection with a Dobsonville cash heist and face charges of armed robbery, possession of a hijacked vehicle and attempted murder.

The four allegedly fled with an estimated R200 000 in cash.

Mabasa further conceded that he could not link the accused to the heist except for a witness statement which links them to the stolen vehicles.

"At the moment, we don't have CCTV footage placing accused at the scene. We have not been able to get positive identification after an ID parade and there are no fingerprints from the crime scene," he said.

Modumaela told Mabasa that he was opposing bail for the accused but could not provide tangible evidence linking him to the crime that has kept them behind bars for three months.

"I do not believe that there is enough evidence linking them to the crime except for the one witness you have," Modumaela said.

Magistrate John Baloyi postponed the matter until September 17 for handing down judgment on the bail application.

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