Pretoria - Serial escapee Bongani Moyo told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday that he will not stage another escape from jail.
The Zimbabwean, who is often described as the “Houdini of South Africa”, was testifying in his sentencing proceedings.
The court was hearing arguments in sentencing procedures on a raft of charges including armed robbery.
Moyo told Judge Natvarlal Ranchod he realised that he had done “bad things” and resolved to face the consequences.
He was led in giving evidence by his counsel Donald Somo and was later questioned by State prosecutor Abe Koalepe.
“I will not escape again. I have shown remorse. Every time I escape, I get caught, so how does that assist me? I have now resolved to face the consequences,” said Moyo.
Koalepe asked Moyo to explain why he had escaped from custody.
“You have already been convicted for escaping from lawful custody. What was the reason for your escape?” Koalepe asked.
Moyo responded: “Life in jail is not nice. I escaped when I had the co-operation of officials.”
Koalepe went on: “So are you telling this court that as long as there is someone corrupt at the jail you will always escape?”
An apologetic Moyo said he would not attempt to evade the authorities again.
The State submitted that Moyo’s guilty plea had not been out of remorse, but was as a result of being cornered.
“You pleaded guilty because you realised that you are facing a long term of imprisonment. You have also seen that there is no way you were going to be acquitted of the crimes,” said Koalepe.
Moyo responded: “That is not true. I resolved to plead guilty over a year ago. I told the investigating officer and he told me to wait.”
Koalepe asked Moyo to explain his feelings about the trauma he caused bank staff and patrons when he robbed them using a firearm.
“It was not easy for me. It was because of the circumstances. During the robberies, I had pledged to myself that I would not kill anyone. What I did to them was painful. I felt the same way when I was doing it (executing the robberies),” he said.
“I cared about those people (the victims). That’s why I did not harm any of them. Wherever there was resistance, I would leave that place.”
Moyo said his passport had expired and he had not gone to Zimbabwe to renew it. Koalepe put it to him that he was staying illegally in South. Moyo conceded.
At one stage, Moyo appeared overcome by emotion, causing Somo to ask if he was still willing to continue with the court process.
Earlier, Moyo told the court about his tough childhood growing up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
“I was born in a very poor family. I only attended (primary) school for four years. I was raised by my father and stepmother.
“My father was a farmer. He would sell the crops he cultivated. I did not progress with school because of (lack of ) money. In school, I was not bright. I always failed.”
Ranchod postponed the matter to Wednesday. - Sapa