CCTV repairman caught on camera 'stealing' from top school

The Makhanda high court has granted bail to an alleged thief.
The Makhanda high court has granted bail to an alleged thief.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

CCTV footage has helped police nail a CCTV repairman for allegedly stealing a laptop and watch from a top Eastern Cape school.  

Mnyamezili Gilbert Tshisani, 63, is on trial in the Makhanda magistrate's court for the theft of a MacBook worth R18,000 and a Citizen watch worth R7,211 from St Andrews College. He has been charged with trespassing, theft and possession of suspected stolen property.

Tshisani appealed in the high court against the decision by the magistrate's court to deny him bail.

Judge Thandi Norman overturned the magistrate’s decision on Tuesday and granted Tshisani R1,000 bail. Norman ordered Tshisani not to enter schools in Makhanda and to report to the Makhanda police station between 9am and 4pm every Wednesday.

According to court papers, Tshisani's alleged crime was captured on CCTV footage. 

. "[Tshisani] was apprehended and the watch was allegedly recovered from him. The MacBook has not been recovered and two cellphones were found in the laptop bag,” court papers read.

Tshisani told the high court he worked in Cape Town and retired in December 2021.

“He receives an old-age grant but also generates income by repairing cellphones and restoring CCTV cameras,” the high court judgment read.

“He disclosed his previous convictions which were all related to the charges pending against him. The convictions are trespassing in 2009 in Stellenbosch, theft in Makhanda in 2010, theft in Stellenbosch in 2012 and shoplifting in 2016 in Somerset West. He has no other pending criminal cases. He intends to plead not guilty to the charge against him.”

He told the court he could afford R1,000 bail and undertook not to interfere with state witnesses and police investigations.

“He requested that he be released on bail due to ill health. He suffers from ulcers which cause him to vomit and he had been vomiting since the day of his arrest,” the judgment read.

Tshisani argued that the magistrate, when denying him bail, failed to properly consider his personal circumstances. He said the magistrate overlooked his age, that he suffered from ulcers and had a fixed address. He said the magistrate had overemphasised his previous convictions,  saying these occurred between 2009 and 2016, and no violence was involved.

The state opposed his release on bail. Investigating officer Torsen Cangweni told the court the state had a strong case against Tshisani as the “commission of the offence was recorded on video footage from the school”.

“A watch that was also stolen was found in [his] possession and was returned to the owner. [Tshisani] was carrying a bag with two mobile phones inside.”

Cangweni told the high court Tshisani was targeting schools. 


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