R200 discount for liking us on FB
Pretoria - Notorious prison escaper Bongani Moyo’s list of convictions and jail time is expected to grow this week, as he is planning to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the State on several bank robbery charges and a charge of escaping from custody.
The 29-year-old Moyo, a Zimbabwean citizen, is serving a 17-year sentence for two previous escapes - from the Joburg police cells, and from the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in 2011, where he simply walked out of the court.
Moyo and his three co-accused - fellow Zimbabweans Leon Ncube, 27, Thabani Sibanda, 27 and his cousin Khumbulani Sibanda, 30 - appeared briefly in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday on a number of bank robbery charges, as well as the escape charge.
The four were closely watched in the dock by armed guards of Correctional Services’ Emergency Support Team. About 10 guards stood behind and next to the dock in which the shackled four appeared.
Judge Natvarlal Ranchod was told that Moyo and Khumbulani Sibanda were considering entering into a plea bargain agreement with the State on Thursday regarding the 17 charges against them.
The State would then consider the terms of the plea bargain and decide whether it should be accepted. Judge Ranchod pointed out that the court would have to give the go-ahead before such an agreement could be accepted.
It is not known at this stage what the agreement will entail.
The judge said it might be that another court would hear the plea bargain and that he would proceed with the trial of the other two accused, or he would preside over the plea bargain and another court would proceed with the trial of Ncube and Thabani Sibanda.
The four face a number of charges relating to bank robberies they are said to have committed after their alleged escape from the Modderbee Prison near Benoni.
The indictment said they were detained at this prison in March 2011, awaiting trial on a number of other robbery offences.
Some time during the night of March 28, 2011, they allegedly broke out of prison cell no 313 “under mysterious circumstances”. They were arrested two months later.
The first alleged bank robbery took place on April 12, 2011, when R62 000 was apparently taken at gunpoint from the tellers at the Roodepoort branch of Absa Bank.
The next was on April 19, 2011, when the accused and unidentified accomplices are said to have entered the FNB branch in Gezina. Bank officials and customers were apparently ordered at gunpoint to lie down before money was demanded. It is claimed they fled the bank with R340 in cash.
That same day Standard Bank in Hatfield was robbed of R38 463.
According to the State, the four entered a Nedbank branch in Rustenburg two days later, and once again money was demanded from the tellers at gunpoint. About R65 000 in cash was taken.
A week later, the Boksburg branch of FNB was hit and R24 000 in cash taken at gunpoint.
After another week, tellers at an Absa branch in Monument Park in Pretoria were held at gunpoint and R78 000 was grabbed.
Thabani Sibanda is facing an additional charge of attempted murder as he allegedly tried to run over a police officer in Hillbrow while driving a BMW. Next month, Moyo will face a further prison sentence for his latest alleged escape attempt.
It made headlines a year ago when he, Khubulani Sibanda and Themba Dube allegedly attempted to escape from the Pretoria Central Prison. A newspaper vendor saw what was happening and alerted the authorities.
Last month, the trio pleaded guilty in the Prison Court to this escape attempt.
They explained that while they were in the prison courtyard, they saw a chance to escape and decided to make a dash for freedom, as they wanted to get away from the “inhumane” treatment they received in prison.