Four cash-in-transit robbers – suspected to be operating as part of a syndicate linked to a corrupt mall security officer as their “inside man” have failed in their bid to appeal against a denied bail application and will spend their time awaiting trial behind bars.
Siphelele Ngcobo, Nkosomzi Cuba, Unathi Mooi and Siphumelele Figlan, who are facing charges of the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, had attempted to appeal against their denied bail application.
The four were nabbed following an undercover operation, which was lauded by Western Cape High Court Judge Daniel Thulare, who said the suspects could face further charges as the matter was set to go on trial.
According to court documents, it became apparent that Figlan had been in contact with a corrupt security officer to carry out the armed robbery at Eerste River Mall, Clarewood in Eerste River on October 11, 2022.
Figlan and Mooi had previously been employed by the security company they planned to rob.
An undercover operation was planned and a police agent was identified to infiltrate the syndicate to which the four appellants belonged.
The Crime Intelligence Agency and the SAPS Intervention Unit planned to foil the robbery before it even took place. This was because the scene of the robbery was a public place and the safety of civilians and bystanders was a high priority as the appellants’ plan was to shoot the security guards if they resisted during the robbery.
Judge Thulare said: “If the allegations against the appellants were proved at trial, it will be an indication that the tide has shifted. It will signal that the SAPS, especially its deployment of provincial gang and investigation units, other specialised units as well as the Crime Intelligence Agency, working on information from the public which trusts, among others, members of these special units, has a good story to tell.
“It is the story of a nation’s bravery and resilience in rising against the iron fist of armed syndicates and gangs that rule our streets, our businesses, our communities and our very existence through fear instilled by extra judicial execution of those who speak out, act against and commit to stop lawlessness.
“The deployment of skilled, ethical and competent police officers, especially in settlements commonly referred to as the Cape Flats and townships, will surely bring back the legitimacy of the SAPS as an institution bound by the governing principles of national security which includes to reflect the resolve of South Africans to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life ...
“The public trust in the SAPS is essential. That public trust extends to the courts and the administration of justice,” the judge said.
Regarding further charges the four could face, Judge Thulare said: “At least, the available evidence suggested a conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances. It further suggests a group which may be a syndicate or gang.
“Courts have an obligation to ensure that the criminal justice system remains a beacon of hope for communities in distress. In response to the iron-fist of syndicates and gangs involved in serious violent crime where life is cheap and is sacrificed at the altar of greed on the snap of a finger by a gang leader, courts cannot be found wavering and irresolute.
“The message must be clear and unequivocal: courts are not weak and vacillating when the communities they serve are under siege because of serious violent crime with offenders cutting off essentials of the authority of the State with the aim of compelling communities and those inside their influence to surrender to unlawfulness,” the judge said.