This article first appeared in the 29 June 2022 edition of the Cape Argus newspaper.
Cape Town - Three men appeared in the Cape Town Regional Court for a business robbery that took place six years ago as the State tells the court that most witnesses have left the country.
Luyanda April, Sibusiso Qunta and David Magqazana have been accused of taking part in an armed business robbery which happened in May 2016.
They face nine counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of firearms and possession of ammunition for an armed robbery at Flamingo Square shopping centre in Table View.
It was reported at the time that three men entered Tony’s Roma restaurant and seated themselves at the bar.
When they saw the manager busy with the ATM, they approached her with a firearm and told her to be quiet.
She tried to scream but was then threatened with a knife and moved to the office.
Here they demanded money, so she gave them the previous night’s takings of R65 000.
After they took her handbag, they started ransacking the tills at the bar area.
At that stage more suspects entered the restaurant, demanding customers to hand over their belongings, including wallets, cellphones and jewellery.
The police were immediately informed and when they arrived, a shoot-out ensued between the police and perpetrators.
In the midst of this chaos, two of the suspects fled the scene, however six were arrested.
Only three accused are on trial for the robbery, while one of the accused died at Pollsmoor prison.
On Tuesday the State noted the delay of the trial as the last time the matter was heard was in 2018.
State prosecutor Neilen Chetty said the customers and employees who were robbed made up the bulk of the witness list but most of them have either emigrated or moved to different provinces.
He therefore told the court that the remaining witnesses have been reduced to only three.
Qunta’s lawyer, Ebrahim Holt said his client was entitled to a speedy trial, given that he was only granted bail in August 2020 after he had been in custody for four years.
He said the matter had come a long way and further delays in the trial would not qualify as justice.
The matter was postponed to September 28.