Hawks nail man who es­caped twice in 8 months

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - BIANCA CAPAZORIO

THE MAN ar­rested in Cape Town by the Hawks this week as part of their cam­paign to ar­rest 10 of the most wanted crim­i­nals and sus­pects in two weeks, es­caped from cus­tody twice in the space of eight months and was wanted for bank and house rob­beries.

But he is not the only Cape­based crim­i­nal sus­pect in their sights – they are hunt­ing for some of the coun­try’s most wanted ar med rob­bers and cash-in-tran­sit heist king­pins.

Zain Mahuta Se­bata was ar­rested at a Bel­lville town­house on Thurs­day, af­ter he es­caped from Pollsmoor prison in De­cem­ber 2008. Se­bata and two ac­com­plices were sprung from the prison by men mas­querad­ing as po­lice of­fi­cers.

n May, Se­bata was one of five men who es­caped from the hold­ing cells at the Athlone Mag­is­trate’s Court where they were wait­ing to ap­pear for their in­volve­ment in a bank rob­bery.

In that episode, the five at­tacked a lone con­sta­ble, pointed his ser­vice pis­tol at him and pulled the trig­ger. The pis­tol’s mag­a­zine was empty.

Hawks spokesman Su­per­in­ten­dent Musa Zondi said Se­bata had three war­rants of ar­rest against him.

He said he was sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in two rob­beries in Athlone in 2008, in­clud­ing the rob­bery of the FNB bank at Van­gate Mall. There were also charges for house rob­beries in Bel­lville in 2006 and Parow in 2008. In 2006, he was found in pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­erty and there were also charges re­lat­ing to his “es­cape from law­ful cus­tody” in De­cem­ber 2008.

“Th­ese are just some of the cases. We be­lieve him to be in­volved in many more,” Zondi said.

Se­bata ap­peared in court this week, but his case was post­poned un­til Fe­bru­ary 9 to give him chance to a get a lawyer.

Zondi said the ar­rest had come as a re­sult of a com­bi­na­tion of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and “good old-fash­ioned po­lice work”.

Se­bata was the sixth per­son ar­rested across the coun­try in a two-week cam­paign to ar­rest 10 high-fly­ing crim­i­nals and sus­pects.

The Hawks have been in­volved in a num­ber of big ar­rests in the West­ern Cape in re­cent weeks, in­clud­ing the ar­rest of two men who were found in pos­ses­sion of 53 000 man­drax tablets val­ued at R2.5m in Air­port In­dus­tria.

They also ar­rested two Gans­baai men in pos­ses­sion of 73 bags of abalone.

Yes­ter­day, Wood­stock po­lice and the Hawks ar­rested a Zim­bab­wean, 25, and seized equip­ment in­clud­ing com­put­ers, hard-drives, cell­phones worth R500 000 as well as hi-tech skim­ming de­vices used in credit card fraud.

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