Durban - An eThekwini municipal internal auditor who is alleged to have been a spotter for a gang that robbed people who had withdrawn large sums from banks has been granted R10 000 bail.

Durban magistrate Vanitha Armu granted bail on Monday after the State had presented only circumstantial evidence against Njabulo Ngcobo, who was ordered to surrender his passport to authorities.

Ngcobo indicated when his bail application began last week that he would plead not guilty.

He was arrested in September on six counts of armed robbery.

The State alleged that Ngcobo and his co-accused, Nkanyazo Ntenza, had been spotters in knocker-style robberies – that they would go into banks and look for people withdrawing large sums from ATMs or at the counter.

They would then allegedly alert their accomplices, who would rob the victims once they had left the bank.

Prosecutor Krishen Shah said Ngcobo had had no business in the banks on the days he had been recorded on the CCTV cameras.

When Armu asked if it had been established that Ngcobo had alerted Ntenza, Shah said that while that had not been the case, there had been a link of common purpose.

“On one of the days when he had been seen at the bank [August 27], he had called in sick,” he said. Soon afterwards, a robbery took place.

Armu said that given the “exceptional circumstances” and since Ngcobo was gainfully employed, had not interfered with witnesses and did not pose a flight risk, he would be granted bail.

Ngcobo paid the amount immediately.

In September, the Daily News reported that there had been an increase in incidents of bank customers being robbed of large sums, with nearly 40 attacks recorded since January.

The proceedings are set to resume on January 29. - Daily News