The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has strongly condemned a bizarre incident in which three armed male suspects allegedly robbed two traffic officers in two separate but related incidents, one robbed of keys of a state vehicle meanwhile the other of his service firearm as well as the state vehicle. The incident is said to have occurred yesterday, Monday 11 April 2022 at Kanyamazane and fortunately one of the alleged suspects, a 36-year-old man has since been arrested and is due to appear at the Kanyamazane Magistrate’s Court today, 12 April 2022 in connection with the said robberies.
According to the information, at around noon, a traffic official was on duty, driving in a state vehicle, a white Nissan NP300 bakkie along Tekwane South. He then noticed a suspicious silver Grey VW Polo driving from Kanyamazane direction towards Nelspruit. The said car reportedly overtook the traffic officer on the barrier line. Upon noticing the driver’s behaviour, the officer activated the siren to stop the said car and the driver of the VW Polo halted.
Whilst executing his duties, talking to the driver of the vehicle it is said that other occupants became rude and aggressive towards him. Further than that, reports indicate that one of them (passengers) suddenly drew a firearm and pointed at the traffic officer thereby snatching the keys of the state vehicle from his hands. Thereafter the suspects drove off and fled the scene with the stolen keys, leaving the officer stranded next to the road.
Fortunately, whilst the officer was trying to get some assistance, another vehicle from the traffic department, a white Ford Focus, emerged to give back-up whereby a high-speed chase ensued. It is said that the VW Polo then lost control and collided with a maroon Jeep. One, of the three suspects sustained some injuries. The officer, who was an occupant of the Ford Focus, approached the suspects however, he was robbed of his service firearm. They also robbed him of the state vehicle he was driving before they fled the scene, leaving behind their fellow man inside the VW Polo which was also damaged.
The robbed Ford Focus was later found abandoned at Myanga area in Kanyamazane some moments later. Thereafter, the remaining suspect was then arrested and he was reportedly found in possession of unlicensed firearm with ammunition and was charged also for possession of suspected stolen vehicle.
The police at Kanyamazane immediately began with their investigation whereby it was discovered that the recovered VW Polo was in fact reported stolen during a hijacking and rape incident at Mhala. In this incident, a man, who was with his female companion at Dingledale (Chochocho) was robbed of his silver VW Polo. It is further said that the suspects also forced him to transfer some cash and one of them (suspects) allegedly raped the female victim before they fled.
Police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges to the suspect and possibly link him to the hijacking and rape case at Mhala as the investigation continues. Meanwhile the remaining suspects are still at large and are being sought by the police. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspects is urged to contact the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111. Alternatively a tip off can be given on MySAPS App. All information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and callers may opt to remain anonymous.