Mpumalanga SAPS urges motorists to be vigilant of criminals posing as law enforcement officials

Following a recent increase of blue-light robberies and criminals masquerading as law enforcement officials, the Mpumalanga SAPS has issued a warning to the public to remain vigilant.

A recent increase in criminals posing as police officers and traffic officials has seen the Mpumalanga police issue a warning to the public, motorists in particular, to remain vigilant and be extra cautious when using main roads like the N2, N3, N4, N11 and the N17 and certain town centres and CBDs.

The warning has also been extended to provincial, district and municipal roads.

A provincial police spokesperson, Captain Magonseni Nkosi, said a number of national roads connecting Mpumalanga to other provinces and neighbouring countries are being used by criminals to execute robberies and other criminal activities.

“The police have received complaints in the past about certain criminals impersonating both SAPS members and traffic officials. They target motorists in dark areas and pretend to be doing police or traffic officials’ duties,” said Nkosi.

“The criminals use blue lights when stopping vehicles. When motorists obey the bogus law enforcers’ directives, that is when the suspects rob them of their valuables or kidnap them for ransom.”

Nkosi said the hotspots include CBDs, as some of these robbers operate in places like Mbombela, eMalahleni, Middelburg, Secunda, Ermelo and eMkhondo. “On the N3, N4 and R40, truck drivers should always be alert in places like Grootvlei, Komatipoort and Marite respectively,” he said.

The provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela, warned victims that they should consider their lives more important than any property should they fall prey to these robbers. She said victims should comply with the robbers’ instructions while at the same time taking note of some of their key features, like the facial appearance, body structure, movements and birth or artificial marks, for proper identification with the SAPS.

She said if a motorist suspects a possible hijacking or robbery, they are strongly advised to make an urgent call for assistance before their car comes to a halt.
Manamela added that, if possible, the motorist should signal to the suspects that they are aware that they are being stopped, and then proceed to drive to a nearby police station or a well-lit area like a filling station.

She said if the individuals in the vehicle attempting to stop the motorist are real law enforcement, they will follow them to such a place, but if they insist that the motorist stops immediately, that will be an indication that they are criminals, and the motorist should follow their instruction before they get injured or are murdered. It is during this time that an emergency call should be made.

She also requested other road users to report to the SAPS immediately should they see any suspicious confrontations on the roads or in any built-up areas.

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