Van owner loses vehicle to state after transporting stolen goods

“The respondent alleges that he waited outside Henties while Zola went inside and loaded the goods into the van. According to the respondent, he did not suspect that Zola was involved in anything untoward and he also never asked Zola, who was a regular client of his, about the nature of the job in question,” Revelas said.

He claimed to have driven Zola to another location, where the items which had been in his van were transferred to a Nissan truck.

The van owner claimed to have never seen Zola again, adding that he also never received the R300 he had been promised.

The state, however, applied for the man to lose his van, stating that the vehicle had been used in the commission of a crime.

Revelas questioned whether the van owner was oblivious to the crime which was being committed in his presence. In his defence, the owner claimed he had used his van for business and never asked his clients questions.

Revelas said it was “highly unlikely that Zola would have been capable of carrying and loading such a large safe without assistance”. She said If the respondent had helped Zola, which he must have done because the circumstances demanded it, he would have seen evidence of a burglary.

“Any alleged innocence or ignorance at that point was clearly willful and disingenuous. The cumulative effect of the evidence against the respondent is overwhelming, and the probabilities indicate the respondent’s involvement in the offence committed,” said Revelas.

She ruled that the van be forfeited to the state. The vehicle will be auctioned and the proceeds deposited into the criminal asset recovery account.

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