Armed robbery suspect Errol Velile Present today told the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court he was only being paid half his salary by the African National Congress (ANC), despite the ruling party saying it had fired him after he was arrested in connection with cash-in-transit heists.
Present took the stand and testified during his bail application, with his feet in shackles. Security was tight at court, with heavily armed police on duty.
The 33-year-old father of four pleaded not guilty.
Present was fired by the ANC shortly after he gained notoriety following a statement by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, in which he lambasted the governing party for employing someone who supposedly did not respect the rule of law.
He was employed at the ANC headquarters as a national organiser.
The ANC said Present was fired after he was embroiled in allegations “of heinous crimes”.
He is accused number four in the case. He is appearing in court along with Zakhele Zondi, Itumeleng Manama and Bheki Biyela.
All four men are facing a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances in connection with a cash-in-transit heist in Dobsonville, Soweto, on July 4.
An amount of R220 000 was taken during the heist.
Present said: “I elect not to disclose my salary and also how much my wife is earning”.
The court also heard that Present was paying R9 500 a month rent.
He said on the day of his arrest he was travelling with his wife to his uncle’s house when they were stopped by police.
He then asked his mother to step out of the court before telling the court about alleged torture.
“My hands were bound and they made me lie down, they covered my face with a plastic and the sellotape was wrapped around my head. They then used a pepper spray,” said Present.
He said he told the police that he doesn’t know anything about the heist but they kept on saying he would end up knowing.
“I can point out all the police officers who assaulted me.”
He said that his wife was also assaulted.
Present said that no fingerprints were lifted from the vehicles he and his co-accused were alleged to have used in carrying out the heist, and the four guards who the money was taken from had reportedly failed to point him out during an identity parade.
He pleaded with the court to release him on R5 000 bail‚ adding that he would not tamper with the State’s case and that he was not a flight risk.
He said he would ask his business associates to help him with the bail money.
Present said his wife sold their second car in order to pay the children’s school fees, when the court asked him how the wife and children have survived since his arrest.
The matter was postponed to September 11.
– African News Agency (ANA)