March 28 2017 – THE Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday heard during the bail application of two men allegedly linked to the OR Tambo International Airport heist that one of the suspects earned R400 000 as a stand exhibitionist.
Zimbabwean Prince Dube, 35, Thando Sonqishe, 39, are part of the gang of seven men suspected of being involved in what’s considered one of South Africa’s biggest heists.
In Dube’s affidavit, which was read in court by his attorney Oscar Machevele, he said he believed that the State had no objective facts that he committed the robbery.
He said that he was traditionally married with two children and resided in Norkem Park, in Kempton Park east of Johannesburg.
He said that his job as a stand exhibitionist paid him R400 000 per month and that he would be able to pay R80 000 for bail.
Dube, whose origins in Zimbabwe, are not yet known is believed to be the key figure in the heist, who also cloned the police car.
Earlier, Prosecutor Pieter Erasmus told the court that the State was ready to proceed with the bail application and considered the robbery with aggravating circumstances as a schedule six offence.
The gang was allegedly in a marked police vehicle and stole R24 million in foreign currency from an SA Airways plane after it landed on March 7.
The defence councils of both men argued that they did not agree with the state charging Dube and Sonqishe with armed robbery as they were not caught with any weapons.
Erasmus said the State would only disclose whether they would be charged as the main accused, participants or accessories at a later stage.
“Even if they are charged at a later stages as accessories it will be argued that the main perpetrators used fire arms.”
The court then heard Sonqishe’s affidavit that was read by his legal representative Victory Nkwashe which stated that he denied being involved in the heist.
He said that he was married with two children and was self employed and his business supplied construction vehicles.
Sonqishe told the court that he earned R30,000 per month and could afford R10,000 bail.
He added that he was the owner of a number of vehicles which included a Toyota Hilux as well as a 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo valued at R600,000 and resided in Blue Hills in Centurion in a house worth around R3 million.
Sonqishe dismissed articles in the media which stated that he purchased his Lamborghini Gallardo with the money that was stolen during the heist, and said that his owned it for the past three years.
“There are no witness statements that say that I was present at the robbery. I am being falsely accused. The State has no case against me, I’ll be found not guilty,” Sonqishe said through his affidavit.
Dude and Sonqishe’s co-accused are expected to make their bail applications on Wednesday.
Court adjourned for lunch. – ANA