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Public barred from courtroom as CIT gang suspects appear

The ten suspects who have been arrested for the Rosettenville shooting leave the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.
The ten suspects who have been arrested for the Rosettenville shooting leave the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Journalists were barred from  covering the proceedings of the case against 10  cash-in-transit heist suspects who were arrested during a heavy gun battle with the police in Johannesburg on Monday.

In a ruling on an application brought by  Sowetan to take images and videos of the proceedings, magistrate Nsizwa Shabangu said allowing such a request would be premature.

“If I were to allow videos and pictures at this stage... that may jeopardise the case,” Shabangu said.

This is despite the fact the state informed the court that no identity parade would be conducted during the investigations as the accused were arrested on the scene. The state and the defence were also opposed to the taking of pictures and videos of court proceedings, arguing it was still too early.

Several journalists were locked outside the courtroom where the men  made their first appearance. 

Later on the day the suspects were arrested,  eight others were killed during a shoot-out with police at The Hill, south of Johannesburg.

Heavily armed police guarded the entrance of courtroom  eight.

Some of the suspects were still limping with visible injuries to their legs as they crammed into the dock and Shabangu read them their rights.

Sihle Mazibuko, Menzi Shabalala, Qaphela Ngubeni, Kitso Mnguni, Hloniphani Dube, Phendulani Mvubu, Mike Ngwadi, Andrew Tshobolo, Khulekani Nkosi and Alex Matshebele are facing charges that include eight counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, nine counts of possession of illegal firearms, explosives and ammunition and being in possession of stolen vehicles.

One of the accused is believed to be from Botswana while three are from Zimbabwe.

The case was postponed to March 3 to allow for the verification of the addresses and the status of the four men.

On Monday night, police clashed with 25 suspected gang members at a house in The Hill, next to Rosettenville,  killing eight of the alleged robbers at the scene.

Three officers were wounded during the heavy gun battle. Police said the men are part of a cash-in-transit gang. They confiscated 10 high-performance vehicles at the house, six AK-47 machine guns, three rifles as well as explosives.

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