Bailed after 4 years awaiting trial in jail

An Eastern Cape armed robbery accused was given bail of R5,000 after being held in police custody for more than four years.
An Eastern Cape armed robbery accused was given bail of R5,000 after being held in police custody for more than four years.
Image: File

An Eastern Cape armed robbery accused was given bail of R5,000 after being held in police custody for more than four years.

Bongani Mququ, 35, has been denied bail twice since his November 2014 arrest.

He finally walked out on bail from the Grahamstown high court on Thursday.

Mququ is charged with three counts of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He unsuccessfully applied for bail in the East London magistrate’s court in December 2014 and again in December 2018.

His trial, and that of his six co-accused, is set for May 27.

Attempts to get comment from him and his legal team were unsuccessful on Monday.

It has been reported that Mququ was allegedly part of the so-called cigarette gang, which robbed a number of British American Tobacco vans around East London in late 2014.

He was arrested together with Siyabonga Hesewu, Sivuyile Khethi, Lungile Mbalo, Nkululeko Langa, Simphiwe Mzanywa and Khangelani Mtyida at a Quigney guesthouse, where 36 boxes containing cartons of cigarettes, valued at over R500,000, were allegedly recovered by police.

Mququ was the only one who appealed the decision not to grant them bail.

High court acting judge Sunil Rugunanan found that “the magistrate’s judgment does not account for all the evidence and is indicative that he misdirected himself and arrived at the wrong conclusion”.

“The proverbial scales were tipped against the appellant,” the judge said, adding she had noted that the man was not in good health.

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