Al­leged con­man in court over fake SANDF re­cruit­ment

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI

THE MAN in the pic­ture is Petrus Nd­aba, 55, the al­leged con­man who lured 259 prospec­tive young job-seek­ers from all over the coun­try to Pre­to­ria, say­ing they would be trained and then em­ployed within the SANDF.

Clad in a blue suit, a weary-look­ing Nd­aba walked up to the dock from the cells in the Pre­to­ria North Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day. In the dock, his bravado and con­fi­dence sur­faced, re­as­sured by his sup­port­ers’ pres­ence in the courtroom.

He waved and winked to the packed court, which con­sisted mostly of his sup­port­ers, dressed in tra­di­tional re­galia.

Dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings he ap­peared un­de­terred as he stared at the mag­is­trate. The mag­is­trate, in some in­stances, had to qui­eten down the gallery when Nd­aba’s de­fence read his af­fi­davit.

Be­fore the court went into re­cess, Nd­aba raised a clenched fist and mum­bled a few words to his sup­port­ers.

Dur­ing the bail ap­pli­ca­tion, it emerged that Nd­aba, some­times re­ferred to as “The Gen­eral”, was in fact a former mil­i­tary pri­vate who served prison time for mur­der.

He joined the then South African De­fence Force (SADF) in 1991.

He was sta­tioned at 115 South African In­fantry Bat­tal­ion in Pre­to­ria.

In 1992, he un­der­went ba­sic mil­i­tary train­ing and was ap­pointed in the SADF in the rank of a pri­vate.

“The SANDF un­equiv­o­cally wishes to state that the sus­pect was never at any stage dur­ing his short mil­i­tary ca­reer ap­pointed in a rank of ei­ther an of­fi­cer nor a gen­eral of­fi­cer,” said the SANDF.

The court pro­ceed­ings were a tug of war be­tween the State and de­fence when af­fi­davits were read out. Ar­gu­ments for and against Nd­aba lasted sev­eral hours.

State prose­cu­tor Ron­nie Sibanda main­tained that Nd­aba faced se­ri­ous charges and was a flight risk, while his de­fence por­trayed him as a victim who was also not well.

“Nd­aba has friends in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries like Namibia, and this makes him a flight risk,” said Sibanda.

His de­fence team, led by advocate Jurg Prinsloo, ar­gued that he was sickly and needed proper health­care, which could not be found in cus­tody. He said his client suf­fered from se­vere di­a­betes.

In ad­di­tion, Nd­aba’s de­fence ar­gued that he wasn’t a flight risk be­cause he didn’t have a pass­port and all his as­sets were in the coun­try.

PIC­TURE: OUPA MOKOENA

SUP­PORT: Petrus “The Gen­eral” Nd­aba in the dock at the Pre­to­ria North Mag­is­trate’s Court dur­ing his bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

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