It wasn’t me, robbery accused says, despite damning evidence
Two stolen rings, gun residue on his hands and a co-accused’s DNA on the same cap – despite their insistence that they had never met – were flatly dismissed on Monday by an alleged jewellery store robber.
Olwethu Dlanga, 21, one of four men accused of a daring robbery and the murder of an innocent man, denied ever being near Fischer’s at the Greenacres Shopping Centre on the day of the crime, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard.
During intense cross-examination by state advocate Zelda Swanepoel, Dlanga denied being involved in the July 29 2016 robbery – even after evidence which included CCTV video footage of the robbery was shown to him.
“It wasn’t me. I was not there,” Dlanga said, after Swanepoel put it to him that he had two rings stolen from Fischer’s on him when he was arrested.
Dlanga and Lindokuhle January, 21, were arrested at a taxi rank in Korsten shortly after the morning robbery and hijacking. According to the state, Dlanga was found in possession of a firearm during his arrest, which he flatly refused to admit to.
Footage from outside Greenacres shown in court shows five men running into the parking lot, opening fire on police and attempting to hijack two cars before they split up.
Asked how the gun residue could have ended up on his hands, Dlanga said it was not him in the footage and that he had never handled a gun prior to his arrest.
Dlanga and his co-accused January, Awonke Yako, 20, and Lonwabo Maweni, 42, have been adamant throughout the trial that they do not know each other.
The charges they are facing include murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
They have all pleaded not guilty.
Motorist Ronald Goduka, 67, was shot dead as the robbers made their getaway.
Asked by Swanepoel how his and Yako’s DNA had ended up on the same blue cap collected by police in the Greenacres parking lot, Dlanga said he had no idea.
“I know nothing about a hat or how my DNA got on there.”
At one stage, after Dlanga became evasive and did not reply with specifics, judge Glen Goosen asked Dlanga to listen carefully to the questions put to him and to answer clearly and truthfully.
Pressing Dlanga for more information, Swanepoel put it to him that cellphone records showed that shortly after the robbery Dlanga had called Yako at least three times to find out where he was after the alleged robbers split up while fleeing the crime scene.
“As I said, I didn’t have a cellphone [on the day I was arrested],” Dlanga said.
The case continues.