Katlehong thugs bust after Duduza robbery

Tuesday, November 3, started like any other day for Sergeant Ramara and his two colleagues, Sergeant Moloto and Constable Lobina, of the Germiston SAPS’s Vehicle Squad.

The officers were cruising the notorious hijack hotspots of back-roads around Kathorus, alongside the N3.

Around the same time that morning, about 12km away in Vosloorus’s Zulu-Section, 28-year-old Witness Malwane, a self-employed satellite dish installer, was planning his work and prioritising the clients he had to see that day. One of the clients on the list was an out of town satellite-dish installation in Duduza Township, near Nigel, about 30km away which Witness decided to do last that afternoon.

“The sun was still up and my crew and I had just arrived at the client’s house in Duduza at around 5pm. We parked my panel van outside the owner’s yard and immediately started off-loading a few of the items we needed for the installation. We then moved the items inside the house,” said Witness Malwane.

Suddenly, two young, armed young men burst into the house and forced Witness, his crew and the owner of the house with her 14-year-old daughter, into a corner and demanded they all lie face-down on the floor. The two men then removed valuables, including two cellphones, jewellery, a wedding ring, DVDs and cash. The suspects then fled the scene in Witness’s bakkie on the R203, heading towards Heidelberg.

Inside the house, the victims struggled to free themselves, until Witness managed to free his hands.

“I then cut the others loose and immediately called my tracking company, alerting them to what had just happened,” said the soft-spoken young businessman.

A few minutes later, driving in the opposite direction on the same section of the R203, Sgt Ramara and his crew received the hijack alert on their police radio.

“We immediately turned around and proceeded towards the direction of the sighting indicated on the tracker,” said the veteran vehicle tracker who has won several awards for recovering stolen vehicles.

The police squad spotted a vehicle that fitted the description of the hijacked bakkie, driving along the old Heidelberg Road towards Zonkizizwe. They gave chase. Realising they were being followed, the two thugs started shooting at the police officers.

By the time the bullet-riddled bakkie managed to turn right on the M7 between Zonke and Vosloorus, the two criminals were no match for the police’s speed and firepower. “That is when the driver lost control and the vehicle veered off the road and crushed into a ditch on the side of the road,” said Sgt Ramara.

The two Katlehong-based criminals were found with two firearms when they were pulled out of the wreckage after the crush.

The two suspects were arrested and charged with house robbery, pointing a firearm, hijacking a vehicle and theft. Their case has been remanded to a further court date, pending further police investigations.

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