Pair denied bail in NFP robbery case

Durban - Felix Khawuleza and Lindani Mhlongo, the alleged masterminds of the recent robbery at Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi’s house, were denied bail on Thursday.

Prosecutor Nhlanhla Mkhize pulled out all the stops to ensure the pair remained behind bars after their co-accused abandoned their bid for bail.

NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Mkhize said he feared for the safety of the State’s sole witness, a security guard who was allegedly involved in the planning stages of the robbery, should they be released.

“It is clear there was a degree of violence used when the suspects entered the house.

“She (KaMagwaza-Msibi’s daughter, Gugu Gumede) was allegedly threatened with a knife when she locked herself in the bathroom. They broke down the door and she was tied up with cable ties,” he said.

The former security guards, together with Amina Vasco, Sifiso Dube and Sifiso Khumalo, appeared in Durban Magistrate’s Court on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking.

They are accused of stealing R500 000 from the deputy minister of science and technology’s Durban North home last month.

The arguments by their lawyers that the pair did not have any previous convictions and had children who were financially dependent on them, failed to persuade magistrate Vanitha Armu, who said giving them bail would “jeopardise the interest of justice”.

She said that, besides their alleged admissions to the police, the State also had cellphone evidence and they had allegedly been linked to the crime by their co-accused.

“Khumalo also allegedly told the police that he gave Khawuleza R50 000 from the proceeds of the robbery,” said Armu.

The case was adjourned to September 10 while police wait for DNA and fingerprint results.

Police are still searching for a sixth suspect.