Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

The ANC has fired a Luthuli House employee, Errol Velile Present, who was arrested and appeared in court on allegations of a number of "heinous crimes".

The ANC did not say whether it was Present who was arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit heist.

The party did not name the crimes Present was accused of committing, nor whether they were in connection with a cash-in-transit heist referred to by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba earlier on Wednesday.

Mashaba said he had been informed of the arrest of four cash-in transit heist suspects, among them an individual believed to be an employee at Luthuli House, the ANC’s national headquarters.

"The suspects were allegedly involved in a cash-in transit heist in Dobsonville, Soweto, which led to a manhunt being launched," Mashaba said.

He said some of the suspects were arrested on July 6 while the remainder were apprehended in the early hours of July 7. He said the raid was conducted by a joint operation of the Johannesburg metro police’s K9 Narcotics Unit and the SAPS. Four hijacked vehicles were recovered, two of which were used in the robbery.

"I have received confirmation that one of the four suspects arrested is alleged to work at Luthuli House, at the time of his arrest," Mashaba said.

The ANC, without mentioning the heist, said the allegations against Present were of such a serious nature that the organisation had to exercise rules provided for in the party’s personnel manual, terminating his service with immediate effect.

The party said it would be also taking disciplinary action against Present in his capacity as an ANC member. He would have to give reasons as to why the ANC should not immediately exercise its right to temporarily suspend his party membership pending the outcomes of the disciplinary proceedings.

Mashaba said the arrest brought into question whether the ANC had been aware of the arrest of the individual and, if so, "why they have remained silent on such an important matter".

"It also begs the question of how the ANC, while running National Government, can employ individuals who so brazenly undermine public safety and the rule of law in our country," Mashaba said.

News24 reported on Wednesday that Present was the ANC staffer who was named in a R97m "farm for friends" scandal involving former minister of rural development and land reform Gugile Nkwinti.