EC postmaster in court after heist of R720K Covid-19 relief grant money


An Eastern Cape postmaster is to apply for bail after he was arrested for allegedly masterminding a robbery at the post office he worked at in which R720 000 was stolen.

The bail application is expected to be heard in the Dordrecht Magistrate's Court on Tuesday and four co-accused, including a Burundian national and a government official, are also expected to appear, Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe said in a statement.

It is alleged that the government official drove the getaway car that was used in the 2 September robbery at the Dordrecht post office, Tikana-Gxothiwe said.

She said a large portion of the money was meant for recipients of the special Covid-19 social distress relief grant of R350.

Explaining how the robbery took place, Tikana-Gxothiwe said: "Three of the suspects walked into the Post Office carrying firearms, shortly after an amount of R600 000 was delivered as requested by the postmaster. They disarmed the security guard before demanding money at gunpoint from the workers. They made off with a total amount of R720 000."

The MEC applauded the swift police investigation that led to the arrest of the accused.

"A huge sum of that money was meant to go to thousands of people who are recipients of the special Covid-19 relief of distress grant of R350 – people who stood in long queues for hours waiting to their money. I wish to thank the police for their swift action in this and for recovering some of that money."

A police incident report showed that two accused, including the Burundian national, were arrested in Komani, formerly known as Queenstown, in alleged possession of cash.

Later that same day, a health department official was arrested at his house in alleged possession of more than R250 000 in cash and a firearm.

The following day, the postmaster and one other person were arrested, bringing the total number of accused to five.

They were charged and appeared in court on 7 September. They are expected to appear again on Tuesday for a bail application.

According to Tikana-Gxothiwe, the postmaster and the four co-accused confessed to the crime.

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