A waiter who allegedly cloned bank cards of restaurant guests appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

Cape Town - The absence of a lawyer on Tuesday delayed the case of a man accused of trying to buy groceries with a cloned bank card.

Moegamat Farouk Martin, 42, from Lansdowne, in Cape Town, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who postponed the matter to January 30.

Martin, who has been held at Pollsmoor Prison, lamented that he had been moved against his will to the Goodwood Prison. He asked the court to order his return to Pollsmoor.

Sonnenberg said he would have to discuss his plight with his counsel N Jaftha, who would then approach the court on his behalf.

For professional reasons, she could not order his return to Pollsmoor, without Jaftha being aware of what had happened, she said.

The case was postponed in December because of Jaftha's absence.

At Tuesday's proceedings, prosecutor Denzyl Combrink said he had phoned Jaftha, only to hear that he had rushed to hospital with his child.

Martin was expected to plead guilty to charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, in plea-bargain proceedings, but the negotiations had not yet been finalised.

Combrink said Martin had been refused bail by the Bellville District Court. He said he had already informed Jaftha of the sentence that would be acceptable to the State.

If Martin disagreed with the proposed sentence, plea negotiations would collapse and the State would proceed to trial in the normal manner.

Martin was arrested on August 12 when he tried to pay for groceries worth R13,811 at the PicknPay in Kenilworth, Cape Town.

According to the charge sheet, Kenilworth branch manager John Lendoor was told that Martin's credit card payment had been declined.

Store managers had been warned that fraudulent bank cards were in circulation.

Martin was allegedly found in possession of a grey Master Card, supposedly issued by the Bank of America.

Lendoor recognised the card as counterfeit and alerted the police. An investigation revealed that the card was issued by Europay Belgium SCRL.

Martin is also charged with violating the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.