A ZIMBABWEAN asylum-seeker appeared before a South African court last Tuesday to answer a charge of armed robbery.
Poslet Mapuranga, 26, who owns a car mechanic business in Kimberly, is accused of robbing Hudaj Supermarket in the city on June 28.
Mapuranga’s bakkie was allegedly used as a getaway car in the robbery, according to the prosecution. Two other suspects who are alleged to have taken part in the robbery are still at large.
The investigating officer in the case, Patrick Dibaba, testified in court that the incident happened at around 12.30pm on June 28.
“The owner of the business was inside with his wife and other employees when a male, wearing a balaclava and carrying a gun, entered the premises and robbed the employees of their cellphones at gunpoint,” Dibaba told the court.
He said while the suspect was in the building, another suspect who was carrying a black bag entered and jumped over the counter.
Both men spoke in broken English.
“The second suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash which was behind the counter, and both suspects then fled on foot, running through the veld,” he said.
The robbers were then chased leading to their arrest.
“When I arrived on the scene, the accused, Mapuranga, had already been handcuffed by one of the security officers and was handed over to the police and arrested,” Dibaba said.
He asked the court not to grant bail to the accused arguing he was a flight risk and it would be very difficult to extradite him from Zimbabwe to face trial.
But Mapuranga’s defence lawyer, Pierre Visagie, said his client only knew one of suspects and that he would be prepared to assist the police in his arrest.
“If it was a case of him wanting to cover for his mates, he would not have given the name to the police,” he said.
Visagie said his client had “assets in South Africa, including a bakkie and a business which is worth R15,000, which he needs to run”.
“He doesn’t have anything in Zimbabwe. His wife is also in court today. They are not planning to leave the country. The suspects also did not get away with any money, so there is no financial benefit waiting for Mapuranga,” Visagie stated.
The bail application was postponed in order to allow the immigration officer, who was off sick, to testify.