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 - More than 10 correctional services officers accompanied serial escape artist Bongani Moyo on Monday, as he appeared in the High Court in Pretoria.

Moyo walked into the court around 10am, led by his lawyer Donald Somo.

Court proceedings had not started and Moyo was in discussion with Somo, flipping through a pile of documents.

Shortly afterwards, Moyo, wearing a branded blue Italian national soccer team jersey, chatted and laughed with some of the officers. He was still holding the documents.

Some of the correctional services’ emergency support team members guarding the entrance held rifles. A correctional services officer unshackled Moyo's leg irons in court.

On Friday, Judge George Webster postponed the trial of Moyo, Kumbulani Sibanda, Leon Ncube and Thabani Sibanda, at the State's request.

The four Zimbabweans are facing 16 charges relating to a series of armed bank robberies in Gauteng and the North West in 2011. The charges include one of racketeering, six of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and one of escaping from custody.

The court was earlier told that Moyo and Kumbulani Sibanda were discussing a possible plea bargain agreement with the prosecution.

The four accused escaped from prison in March 2011, a month before they allegedly started robbing banks.

Moyo also managed to escape from the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in August 2011 while he was on crutches.

He was re-arrested three weeks later near the Beitbridge border post in Limpopo while re-entering South Africa from Zimbabwe. He allegedly managed to escape again from Pretoria Central prison in 2012.

The State alleges the four accused were part of a gang which planned and executed a series of armed bank robberies in Pretoria, Rustenburg, Boksburg and Roodepoort in April and May 2011, which netted them over R260 000.

The State alleges Thabani Sibanda attempted to murder policeman Warrant Officer Charles van Niekerk by trying to run him over with a car when the officer was trying to arrest him in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in 2011.- Sapa