Case against Velile Present ‘weak’, ‘nonexistent’ says judge

A judge has granted former ANC employee Errol Velile Present bail alongside three others accused of having been involved in a series of cash-in-transit heists in Gauteng, slamming the state’s case as being “weak and nonexistent.”

Present and his co-accused, Itumeleng Manama, Bheki Biyela and Zakhele Zondi are now free until the trial, with the judge showing little confidence in the state’s ability to win it.

Magistrate John Baloyi told a packed court house that the state did not provide any tangible evidence implicating the men in the crime.

According to Baloyi, the men could not be identified by witnesses in an identity parade, no fingerprints were found at the scene or on the getaway cars, a DNA blood sample found at the scene was not a match with any of the accused and there was no CCTV footage.

The men’s bail will set them back R4,000 each and they must each report to their nearest police stations every week day.

Present and his co-accused had been arrested and charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and the possession of hijacked vehicles over three cash-in-transit heists that took place on July 6 and 7.

Hijacked vehicles were recovered, and two of them were linked to heists outside a Capitec Bank in Soweto earlier this month.

The ANC dismissed Present from his Luthuli House job after his arrest and court appearance.

The state opposed bail and said they would not be disclosing the contents of the docket to protect witnesses.

The defence team opposed this, saying they needed to see the docket to prepare the defence properly.

Present’s lawyer, Ben Modumaela, said in July his client had been arrested while walking on the street, so he said he could not understand how Present could have been charged with possession of suspected stolen vehicles if he wasn’t actually in possession of any of the vehicles.

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