Arrest of former ANC employee Present is political, says his wife
The lawyer of former Luthuli House employee Errol Velile Present, who was arrested in connection with a Dobsonville cash heist, has accused the State of having a weak case.
"The State has a weak case that is only dependent on one witness who was coerced into making the statement," defence attorney Brighton Taula told the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
This is after it was revealed to the court that witness Kenny Diratsagae, who has been identified as Present's uncle, was allegedly forced into making a statement that formed part of investigating officer Solomon Mabasa's evidence-in-chief.
Present and his four co-accused are applying for bail. They are facing charges of armed robbery, possession of a hijacked motor vehicle and attempted murder.
Members of the public in the gallery looked on as the defence ripped into Mabasa's evidence.
Magistrate John Baloyi at one point warned Mabasa to stop "misleading the court".
"You answer as fact and when you get probed you withdraw, please stop that," Baloyi told Mabasa.
Mabasa was asked if there was CCTV footage, fingerprints, DNA results or a positive ID parade that linked Present or his co-accused to the crime.
"At this stage, no, your worship," Mabasa answered.
An ANC member 'in good standing'
This response prompted Present's wife to label the charges against her husband as politically motivated.
"[Present] is a member of the ANC at the Dobsonville branch in good standing. I can't go into details, but this is deeper than what you see, this is political," Zanele Present told News24 outside court.
Zanele says if her husband had taken any money she would have seen a considerable change in their lives.
"I do not believe my husband committed this crime." If he had, she said she would have noticed "and confronted him about it".
"The State has no case and I am confident that he will be granted bail," she said.
Present was arrested in July along with Zakhele Zondi, Itumeleng Manama and Bheki Biyela for an alleged cash heist at the Capitec Bank outside a mall in Dobsonville, Soweto. They allegedly fled with an estimated R200 000 in cash.
Baloyi has postponed the matter to September 17 for bail application judgment.