JOHANNESBURG- The courtroom at the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court was packed to capacity ahead of the appearance of former ANC staffer and cash heist accused Errol Velile Present.
Security was also tight at court, with heavily-armed police and correctional services personnel in attendance on Tuesday morning. There were also a few people in ANC gear in court.
Present, Itumeleng Manama, Zahele Zondo and Bheki Biyela are facing a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances for an alleged heist in Dobsonville, Soweto, on July 4. This was according to Gauteng spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority Phindi Mjonondwane, who said more charges could be added to the one Present is facing.
At the time of the alleged cash in transit heist, Present was working for the ANC at Luthuli House but was fired as soon as word got out that he had been arrested in connection to the crime.
“The ANC on 18th of July 2018, served Errol Velile Present with a letter of summary dismissal from its employ following his arrest and appearance in court on allegations of a number of heinous crimes. The ANC expects from its members and employees to respect the laws of the land and not be involved in any criminal activity," said the party's spokesperson Pule Mabe said at the time.
Two weeks ago, Police Minister Bheki Cele said it looked like Present was a habitual criminal who had been wanted for other crimes.
"The arrest of Errol Velile Present is the arrest of just another criminal. What we have established is that Velile is linked to another cash heist [that happened] before this, other cases and drunken driving," he had said.
Cele also said Present has been arrested before for other crimes but never attended court processes. He noted that it looked like Present was a habitual criminal and that he should be investigated.