A man who was on a list of the most wanted criminals in Mpumalanga failed to appear in the magistrate's court last Friday because he was still recovering in hospital from two bullet wounds.
The man is facing at least 77 criminal charges.
The 28-year-old Moses Macheve was scheduled to appear in the Middelburg magistrate's court, but a detective told the court that he was wounded and still under police guard in hospital.
Macheve is facing, among others, charges of car hijacking, assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm, theft, armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms, murder and escaping from custody.
Mpumalanga police spokesman, Superintendent Abie Khoabane, said yesterday Macheve was among the most wanted criminals in the province.
"Though the suspect topped our list of wanted criminals, we are aware that he is also wanted in other provinces, such as Gauteng and Limpopo.
"I will not be surprised if police from provinces come forward and say they are also looking for him," said Khoabane.
He said Mpumalanga police's special tracing team, under the leadership of Superintendent Botsotso Moukangwe, spotted Macheve in a red Toyota Conquest along the N4 highway near Middelburg on Tuesday last week.
He said police pulled the car off the road, but as soon as it stopped, the driver jumped out and fled into a nearby maize field.
"Macheve also jumped out and followed suit, but he was shot twice by police.
"He was rushed to a hospital that we will not identify for security reasons. But he is said to be in a stable condition now," said Khoabane.
He said Macheve's alleged crimes were committed in various places and date back to 1998.
"Some of the suspect's alleged crimes were committed in Graskop, Lydenburg, Hazyview, White River, Polokwane in Limpopo and several other towns in Gauteng," said Khoabane.