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Car thieves were forced to flee empty-handed after a dramatic car chase that ended in a shootout with police near Delmas in Mpumalanga.
The incident took place on the R50, between Pretoria and Delmas, early on Tuesday morning.
Inspector Thabiso Ncongwane, of the Eastern Highveld police in Secunda, said a marked police patrol van was overtaken by a speeding Toyota Stallion at about 3.10am.
"The police followed the car and tried to stop it by flashing their blue light, but the vehicle did not stop," he said.
Ncongwane said a white Toyota Corolla on the road ahead of the police van indicated that it was about to turn left.
As the police passed the Corolla in pursuit of the Stallion, the Corolla passengers opened fire on them.
Shortly thereafter, the driver of the Stallion lost control of the vehicle and drove it into an embankment, where it came to a halt.
Ncongwane said the Corolla then overtook the police vehicle and more shots were fired at the police by its occupants.
The police returned fire.
The Corolla sped off and the two occupants of the stationary Stallion jumped out and fled before the police could apprehend them.
No injuries were reported.
Ncongwane said investigations revealed that the Stallion had been stolen from Botleng township's extension six, near Delmas, that night.
It was returned to its owner.