Feb 7, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Woolworths ‘Mercedes looter’ says he’s broke and needs legal aid

The 30-year-old Mercedes-Benz driver, who went viral on social media after being caught on video footage allegedly looting a Durban Woolworths store during the riots last July, says he was “broke”.

A smartly dressed Mbuso Moloi appeared in Durban Magistrates Court on Thursday and was due to plead guilty to charges including theft, trespassing and operating a vehicle without a license plate.

But Moloi’s lawyer withdrew his representation and said his mandate had ended. He was the second attorney Moloi dropped in the case.

The self-employed tenderpreneur, who owns two vehicles and lives with his parents in Cowies Hill near Pinetown, told the court, he was broke and had no money for private representation.

He said he had finalized a plea deal with the state and intended to do whatever was discussed at their meeting .< /p>

“We sat down with the SPP [Chief Prosecutor] a few weeks ago and discussed everything. Whatever we discussed that day, I intend to do.”

He declined to elaborate, but expressed concerns about the number of the charges against him.

Moloi said he had agreed to seven of the eight charges during negotiations with the state.

< p>< span>But Moloi’s hopes of having his case resolved Thursday were dashed when counsel told the court that the businessman did not qualify because his income did not meet the requirements for free representation.

“He has to pass a means test for legal aid. He said he had financial problems but would go to legal aid and take a means test. He has not given me the full details of his income.”

The matter has been remanded to May 31 to allow Moloi to file an application with the Legal Aid Offices. His bail of R5,000 has been extended.

Moloi went viral after the chief of public prosecutions in eThekwini, Nicole Graham, shared a video of him walking out of a Glenwood Woolworths store with a basket, which he then loaded into a Mercedes-Benz at the height of the riots.

He first time told TimesLIVE it was not looted and that the incident was taken out of context.

“I picked up things that were outside, not inside. I didn’t go into Woolworths,” he said at the time.

But Graham threw cold water on his statements when she showed a lengthy video of Moloi exiting the store.

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