Mall of Africa money heist accused appears in court
Bathobile Mlangeni, an SBV employee who allegedly pulled one of the “cleanest heists” in history according to some South African citizens, and disappeared into thin air with an estimated amount of R4 Million.
It’s alleged that R4 Million heist culprit Bathobile Mlangeni has been found after two years of hiding. The former security guard who had been on the run after allegedly stealing the R4M in 2019 was arrested last week after the Gauteng task team for serious and violent crime received a tip-off that she was hiding in Zola, Soweto.
The 29 year old Bathobile Mlangeni, wearing a light-coloured blouse, made her first appearance at the Alexandra magistrate’s court on Friday morning, where she applied for legal aid. Her bail hearing was postponed to Monday for a legal aid attorney to be appointed for her.
Mlangeni, who worked as a security guard at one of the biggest cash-in-transit companies in SA, allegedly cut open two bulk cash bags and transferred the money into a number of refuse bags before placing them in a trolley and walking out the Mall of Africa, where she was on duty.
Two weeks after Mlangeni allegedly executed the audacious theft in July 2019, she sought refuge in a three-roomed RDP house in Buhle Park township, near Germiston, under the pretext of being on the run from “an abusive boyfriend”. Now, the police eventually tracked her down to her hiding place in Soweto last week.
Bathobile is certainly a woman who mastered the art of lying. She lived a modest life with friends for five months while police were searching for her. To some in her community, she is a hero. A neighbour said that “It’s not like she killed someone. She took some money. The person whose money it was had already deposited it, so the banks and CIT [cash-in-transit] companies will have it insured. Everyone wins”.
Behind the walls of a modest facebrick house in Mtwesi Street, Soweto, her relatives kept a low profile after the news of the daring heist broke, but around them, the chatter amplified about the woman who seemingly pulled off such a feat. The talk around her community has mostly been that of admiration.
Neighbour Jabu Zondo said Mlangeni was a kind person and another neighbour, Themba Maseko described the family as very religious. Another resident, Zodwa Buthelezi, said the family had become very reclusive. She said Mlangeni was not that bad, “the money was insured, so what’s the problem? Would you not take R1m if it was just lying on the ground?” she said.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I always liked her. She used to play in the streets with all the other kids. She was very clever. I knew she would achieve something one day.” An elderly neighbour however told reporters that “The wicked child lives there. That’s the bank robber’s house. The one who took all the money, but who didn’t kill anyone. They say she is a hero and she is good, but she is not. He further said that her parents are God-fearing, but he always knew she was naughty.”