Reporter: Fatima Schroeder
SECURITY was tight at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court yesterday where seven men, including one granted amnesty for the St James church terror attack in 1993, appeared in connection with a R1.8million cash-in-transit heist in Ottery on Tuesday. Traffic officer James Mayston was shot in the right arm by cash-in-transit robbers. While on their way to an accident scene, he and his colleagues unwittingly drove behind the alleged robbers at high speed on the M3. Minutes later police arrested some of the men at a stop street. Another three were arrested near Ottery Hypermarket. Police recovered the money and confiscated and AK-47 rifle, an R5 assault rifle, two 9mm handguns and ammunition. One of the men, Gcinikhaya Makoma, a former member of the Pan Africanist Congress’s military wing, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla), was released from jail in 1998 after he was granted amnesty for the St James Church released from jail in 1998 after he was granted amnesty for the St James church terror attack on July 25, 1993 that claimed 11 lives. He and two other men were serving life sentences for 11 murders and 58 counts of attempted murder and were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 1998. In court yesterday, several members of the police’s Intervention Unit were present to prevent the accused’s family and friends from reaching them. State prosecutor Sarie Brink said the accused – Makoma, poyo Gobo, Charles Sigabi, Tokiso Sithole, Zola Dadani, Lunga Luke, and Vuyo Nyadaza – would be charged with armed robbery Brink asked the court for a seven-day postponement for further investigation. She said crime intelligence was compiling profiles of all seven men. Attorney for three of the accused, Ben Mathewson, placed on record that his clients said they were assaulted by police after their arrest on Tuesday. He said Gobo received head injuries and that Luke was kicked in his lower body and pulled by his arms. Nyadaza had leg injuries from being bitten by police dogs, Mathewson said. Magistrate Anieke Pretorius postponed the trial to September 5, when the court is expected to set a date for the bail hearing.