Amid the panic of the current international Coronavirus outbreak and South Africa going into lockdown, serious crime such as murder and armed robbery are seemingly on the increase across the province and Police have warned that citizens should remain conscious of unscrupulous criminals.
National Police Spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo indicated that the fundamental reason for President Cyril Ramaphosa singling out the Police as an exception to the lockdown is that the men and women in blue can ensure that both the lockdown as well as normal policing continues.
“While our citizenry are observing this very crucial stage of lockdown they should remain conscious of lurking opportunistic criminals and continue to do everything possible to safeguard themselves,” Naidoo said.
Recent incidents include that of an armed robbery at a popular food outlet in the city on Saturday evening, a fatal farm attack between Modimolle and Mookgophong on Friday and an incident of business robbery and rape at Letsitele on Friday evening.
Police also in recent days discovered the dismembered bodies of an 11-year-old girl as well as a 31-year-old woman both of whom had been reported missing in two separate incidents. (See story elsewhere.)
Provincial Police Spokesperson Moathse Ngoepe reported that during the latest incident, an armed robbery in Polokwane’s central business district, Police managed to arrest two of the four suspects.
He said the incident happened at around 20:00 when four armed suspect entered the restaurant, threatened the staff and robbed them of an undisclosed amount of cash and their cell phones before fleeing the scene.
Police quickly followed up all leads which then led to the arrest of two suspects. During the arrest two cell phones and some of the alleged stolen cash were recovered, according to Ngoepe.
The suspects were expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects who allegedly robbed a security guard and reportedly raped a woman at a lodge in Letsitele on Friday evening at around 22:00.
Ngoepe indicated that the security guard was on duty when two suspects wearing balaclavas arrived. They allegedly produced sharp instruments, tied the security guard up and robbed him of cash and his cell phone before they proceeded to one of the rooms in the lodge and reportedly attacked a couple who was sleeping.
In the process a 26-year-old male managed to escape leaving his girlfriend behind. The girlfriend was then reportedly robbed of two cell phones before she was dragged to a nearby bush and raped, according to Ngoepe.
No arrests have been made yet and Police request anyone with information to contact investigating officer Cecil Machimane on 082 451 7181 or to report to the nearest Police station.
During the third incident Police arrested Tatenda Lebogang Mongwenya (32), Lyod Madumba (28) and Yaganias Saga (30) who have already appeared in the Naboomspruit District Court on Monday facing charges of house robbery, attempted murder, murder, possession of suspected stolen property and possession of firearm and ammunition without a license.
This after the brutal attack on Alwyn Petrus Van Zyl (79) and his wife on their farm between Mookgophong and Modimolle early Friday morning during which Van Zyl was killed and his wife severely injured.
It is alleged that the suspects intruded in the farmhouse, assaulted and killed the elderly man before fleeing the scene with a number of valuable items and cell phones, according to Ngoepe.
A joint operation between Police, crime fighting structures and local farmers was conducted soon after the incident which resulted in the arrest of the three suspects.
They were remanded in custody and they were expected back in court today (Wednesday) for a bail application.
Story: RC Myburgh