Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
24 Jul 2021
3:00 pm

Cop and three accomplices arrested, one killed, after failed robbery

Alex Japho Matlala

The provincial commissioner said the arrest should send a strong message that there is no place for criminals in SAPS.

Picture for illustration: iStock

A police constable stationed at the Mokopane Police Station in Limpopo was one of the four suspects arrested for a failed business robbery after a fierce fire exchange with police in Limpopo on Friday evening.

The incident happened in Leewfontein, outside Motetema in the Groblersdal area.  The fifth suspect was fatally wounded during the shootout, police said yesterday.

Police said they received information about the suspects traveling in two motor vehicles, intending to rob one of the businesses in the Leewfontein area. 

“A snap operation comprising the Limpopo Tracking Team, Limpopo Provincial Investigating Unit, Pretoria Airwing and Motetema Detectives was activated to track down the suspects,” said Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojalefa on Saturday. 

Mojalefa said the armed suspects had already entered the business premises when the operatives arrived.

“When noticing the police, the suspects reportedly got into two vehicles and sped off into different directions. A high speed car chase ensued and the occupants of one of the vehicles that took the direction of Mapyane allegedly started shooting at police members who returned fire.

“The said vehicle came to a stop and two injured suspects were immediately arrested. One of them was identified as a police Constable stationed at Mahwelereng Police Station. The third suspect was found fatally wounded. One firearm was allegedly found in the vehicle. The other vehicle, a Ford Ranger, was cornered near Groblersdal and two suspects were arrested. The Police searched the vehicle and found a firearm,” explained Mojapelo.

The provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has welcomed the arrest of these suspects and has thanked community members for continuously assisting the police in the fight against crime. 

“The arrest of one of our members should send a strong message that the South African Police Service does not have place for criminals masquerading as police members”, said the Lieutenant General. Hadebe further hailed the recovery of firearms at the hands of the suspects. She said the recovered firearms would be subjected to ballistic examination to determine if they were previously involved in the commission of other serious crimes.

The suspects aged between 34 and 36 are expected to appear before the Motetema Magistrate’s Court soon, facing charges of business robbery, murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, possession of suspected stolen motor vehicle and reckless and negligent driving.