Two soldiers granted bail over Tek Base weapons theft


Two South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members who were arrested for their alleged role in the theft of military weapons from the SA Army Tek Base in Centurion have been granted bail and are expected back in court in June.

The SANDF in a statement said the two suspects, Lance Corporal Sidwel Babini Tyawana (36) and Sapper Tumelo Christian Mangale (28), appeared in a Court of a Senior Military Judge in Thaba Tshwane and were granted bail on Wednesday 22 April. They are expected back in court on 17 June.

The two suspects were arrested following a joint investigation by the Military Police and the Gauteng branch of the Hawks National Priority Violent Crimes (NPVC) after eighteen R4 rifles and three pistols went missing from SA Army Engineer Formation at Tek Base in Centurion. Tyawana was arrested in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, on 3 February and Mangale was arrested two days later on 5 February. He was arrested whilst on duty at the SA Army Engineer Formation.

Following leads, another suspect, Kgotso Mooketsi, an employee of the Department of Education in Gauteng who was out on bail for an unrelated armed robbery case, was arrested in Springs in possession of an R4 rifle and three empty magazines. He was charged and appeared at the Springs Magistrate Court. He was remanded in custody pending his next court appearance 4 May.

The SANDF said further investigations led the joint investigations team to Daveyton where a further thirteen R4 rifles and a 9 mm pistol were recovered. Another firearm, a 9 mm pistol, was recovered in a veld in Kwa-Thema. The recovered firearms were sent for ballistic testing in Pretoria. The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke and the National Head of the DPCI, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, commended the swift action of the joint investigations team that led to the arrest of the suspects.