14/03/2012 Escapee Bongani Moyo is brought into a press conference under heavy guard following his escape from Pretoria Central Prison Picture : Sizwe Ndingane

Pretoria - Serial escapee Bongani Moyo and a co-accused pleaded guilty to a raft of charges in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Moyo was in the dock on Monday with Khumbulani Sibanda after the court had separated the pair’s trial from that of Leon Ncube and Thabani Sibanda.

Moyo, 29, and Khumbulani Sibanda, 30, submitted sworn statements as part of a plea bargain with the State. The two said they were guilty and had always known their actions violated other people’s freedoms.

The four Zimbabweans are facing charges relating to a series of armed bank robberies in Gauteng and the North West in 2011.

Judge Natvarlal Ranchod postponed the case against Ncube and Thabani Sibanda to August 12. It was scheduled to run until August 23.

After Ncube and Thabani were removed from the court, prosecutor Abe Koalepe read a list of 15 charges against Moyo and Khumbulani Sibanda.

They include racketeering, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of unlicensed firearms, and escaping from custody. Both men said they understood the charges and were guilty.

According to lengthy statements read out by Donald Somo, representing the pair, the two had hatched the plan to commit robberies when they escaped from Boksburg prison in March 2011.

They teamed up with other people, identified only as Max, Nxo, and another unidentified man known only to Max.

The gang robbed branches of the country's major banks. They said before committing the crimes they watched the movements of customers at the banks and discussed ways of escaping after the robberies.

The banks they robbed included the Roodepoort branch of Absa, the FNB branch in Gezina and the Standard Bank in Hatfield, both in Pretoria, and a Nedbank branch in Rustenburg.

The two said throughout the robberies it was not their intention to kill anyone and they had not shot at people. They only used 9mm pistols to intimidate staff and patrons in banks.

The pair submitted they were breadwinners for large families and dependants.

More than 10 correctional services officers escorted them into court on Monday morning. Before proceedings started the two chatted and laughed with some of the officers. Moyo wore a branded blue Italian national soccer team jersey. - Sapa