Police in cahoots with criminals in robberies

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police believe they have cracked a syndicate of policemen involved in armed and cash-in-transit robberies.

The police's significant breakthrough was when they arrested a policeman, 29, attached to the KaNyamazane police station, who had allegedly been supplying criminals with police uniforms for robberies at the weekend.

The provincial police Special Tracing Team told Sowetan yesterday that they were on the trail of policemen who could be involved in criminal acts.

The policeman was arrested at his home in KaNyamazane township, Nelspruit, on Thursday.

According to head of the special police unit, Superintendent Botsoso Moukangwe, the policeman was apparently also involved in the supply of a police uniform worn by an armed robbery suspect, Oupa Robert Themba, 27.

Themba was shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with police in a botched armed robbery in Nelspruit last week.

Police who had been acting on a tip-off were already at a business' premises when six armed robbers approached the enterprise with the apparent intention of robbing it last Saturday.

A shoot-out between the robbers and the police ensued resulting in three suspected robbers being killed, including Themba who was in police uniform. The remaining three would-be robbers were arrested.

The other two dead suspects were Sylvester Mahlangu, 26, of Nelsville, and Dingiswayo Noah Mkansi, 38, of KaNyamazane Township.

Three suspects - Eugene Ralph Morgan, 29, Zwelithini Dlamini and Vusi Dube - have already appeared in the Nelspruit magistrates' court.

Dube's case was withdrawn after it was established that he was not part of the robber gang.

Morgan and Dlamini were granted R5000 bail pending their next court appearance on May 23.

The policeman and another suspect arrested last week are expected to appear in court today.

l In a separate incident police arrested Muzi Enock Ngonyama, 29, of KaBokweni, near White River, following a heist in which an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen in Hazyview last week.

Ngonyama was remanded in custody pending his next court appearance for bail application on Friday.