Palmridge Magistrate's court. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The man accused of using his Uber account to rape and rob women in 2016, Elias Mankgane, asked to exchange T-shirts with his co-accused before an identification parade was conducted, warrant officer Elliot Msibi said during cross-examination at court on Thursday.

Mankgane, Daniel Maswikaneng, Treasure Bonga and Themba Mkuwanazi have been accused of embarking on a crime orgy in the north of Johannesburg, targeting Uber clients, with Mankgane being the alleged driver. 

Msibi said: “There was a request from Mankgane before the identity parade took place, he asked to exchange T-shirts with his co-accused and I agreed to his request; then they exchanged the T-shirts”. 

A victim had positively identified Mankgane and Maswikaneng in an identity parade at Johannesburg Central Police Station.

Msibi said that before the identity parade was conducted, he called legal representative advocate Kingdom Onah, who was then representing Mankgane, and told him to be present. He arrived, said Msibi, but declined to be involved in the parade.

“He said he does not want to be the part of the ID parade since his client was not arrested, according to him. I then asked the accused if we should continue and he agreed, we then continued,” said Msibi.

Earlier, advocate Michelle Ives, who is now representing Mankgane, told the Johannesburg High Court - sitting at Palmridge Magistrate's Court - that her client’s rights were abused.

Ives said that lieutenant-colonel Bayat denied her client the right to have his legal representative present during the ID parade, which was done in September 2016.

During cross-examination, Bayat denied that Mankgane asked to have his representative present. "I did not get such a request," he said. If the request had been made, he would have postponed the ID parade for another day, he said. 

The accused have pleaded not guilty to counts including rape, robbery, kidnapping and assault. They remain in custody. 

The trial continues on Monday.

African News Agency (ANA)