South African and Zimbabwean thieves compete to steal SAPS vehicles in Mpumalanga


Five suspects, including 24-year-old police constable Emmanuel Zwane who is attached to Witbank detectives, Given Nhlanhla (27), Ngadla Mkhwanazi (44), Thembelani Ndlebele (32) and Vusi Bophela (40) were remanded in custody after they appeared before the Ogies Magistrate’s Court for possession of suspected stolen properties.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the five were arrested on the R555 Ogies/Delmas Road on Sunday.

“According to the report, police at Ogies conducted routine patrolling duties when they spotted a Toyota double cab bakkie parked on the side of the road, with six men loading bags inside the bakkie. They then approached the men to investigate, when suddenly, officials and security guards from Transnet also arrived and informed the police that the men are loading chrome, which they allegedly stole at Transnet,” said Mohlala.

“Police reacted swiftly and arrested four of the suspects while two managed to flee. Moments later, police spotted a white Golf 7 TSI and identified the driver as one of the two suspects who fled the scene earlier, and he was arrested.”

Mohlala said a preliminary investigation conducted after the arrests revealed that the bakkie which was used to load the chrome “is a stolen SAPS vehicle which was assigned for a member on detective stand-by duties”.

“They further discovered that the Golf 7 TSI belongs to one of the suspects who was arrested as well. The stolen chrome is estimated to be worth R60 000, and the suspects will have their second appearance at the same court on 8 August 2022,” said Mohlala.

It now appears as if South African and Zimbabwean thieves are competing to steal SAPS vehicles and use the stolen bakkies to commit further crimes.

Recently, police in Mpumalanga province arrested two Zimbabwean nationals aged 29 and 34 who were found in possession of a stolen police bakkie they allegedly converted into a tanker to transport stolen fuel.

South African Police Services (Saps) said the Zimbabweans were arrested last month morning during a routine highway patrol.

“Members of the Saps from Delmas were conducting patrol duties on the N12 Road when they noticed a suspicious white Nissan NP300 single cab bakkie with two occupants.

“The vehicle, which had Gauteng registration number plates, looked rather strange as it appeared to be heavily loaded with something and was covered with a black canvas,” said Saps spokesman for Mpumalanga Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

“The members then ordered its driver to stop which was followed by a search. Surprisingly when members removed the canvas they discovered that the back of the bakkie was in actual sense, converted into a diesel tank.”

Police said further checks revealed the car was stolen from Thohoyandou Police Station, and had been affixed with false number plates.

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