A suspect and his accomplice were caught red-handed whilst in the process of stealing tower batteries and transformer cables and oil on Tuesday morning, 25 February 2020. One of the men allegedly fell from the pole when seeing the police and died instantly. The incident took place next to Mohokoni village under Mokwakwaila policing area outside Tzaneen.
The police received a report from the tower patrollers in the area that there were people busy tampering with the transformer and tower batteries at the said premises. They then rushed to the scene and found two suspects busy dismantling the transformer and had already drained the transmission oil into a 5 litre container.
Upon realising that they were cornered, one suspect ran into the nearby bushes while firing shots at the police who retaliated and chased after him. He was later arrested at Mohokoni tarred road with the assistance from community members and is admitted at a local hospital under police guard after sustaining injuries during the shootout with the police.
The second suspect, who apparently made use of a makeshift stepladder to climb up, was found still on the pole and he allegedly tried to evade arrest by jumping off. He then hit the ground head first and was certified dead on the scene.
Unaware that the police were already at scene, the other two suspects who apparently came to fetch the stolen goods, arrived driving a sedan motor vehicle. They were immediately arrested, bringing the total number of suspects arrested, including the deceased, to four.
All the suspects, aged between 27 and 43, are from Hammanskraal north of Pretoria.
The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has commended the members for their swift response and also thanked community members for assisting the police in apprehending one of the suspects.
The Police have opened a case of theft, malicious damage to property and inquest and investigations are continuing.
The three suspects are expected to appear in Bolobedu magistrate’s court on Thursday, 27 February 2020.
South Africa Today – South Africa News