Crime suspect gives cops the slip

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A Limpopo "chief", who is a crime suspect and is being sought by Gauteng police on a different charge, is on the loose after he was let out on bail by the police in Limpopo.

The "mis-communication" between police in Gauteng and Limpopo has resulted in the self-proclaimed chief Mashile Marksman Phasha's disappearance.

He was arrested recently after being found in possession of a stolen car.

Phasha, 53, the self-appointed chief of Baroka-ba-ga-Nkwana in Sekhukhune, was found in possession of a Mercedes Benz that was allegedly stolen in Randburg, Johannesburg, in March.

He is currently out on R1000 bail and is expected to appear in the Nebo magistrates' court on June 29.

At the centre of the mix-up is that the police in Limpopo allowed Phasha to be granted bail without communicating with their Gauteng counterparts.

Sowetan understands that detectives from Randburg went to Phasha's home at Ga-Nkwana last weekend to question him in connection with another case of armed robbery of a motor vehicle.

A source said three officers came to the village on Sunday looking for Phasha.

At the time, Phasha was seated in a car with his cousin and family spokesman, Steve Phasha.

The pair apparently directed the officers to the royal kraal.

"When the officers proceeded to the royal kraal Phasha and his cousin then drove off. And he has never been seen since," added the source.

Inspector Hein van Heerden, a spokesman for the Randburg police, confirmed yesterday that they were looking for Phasha in connection with the armed robbery of a motor vehicle.

"Our detectives went to Limpopo last week looking for Phasha but did not find him. We are still searching for him," said Van Heerden.

Limpopo police spokesman Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed that they were "hot on Phasha's heels".

He said, however, there were no irregularities in not opposing the granting of bail to Phasha.

"We did not know that Phasha was being sought in connection with another matter. If we knew, we would have opposed his bail," said Mojapelo.

Phasha allegedly appointed himself chief of the tribe without the approval of the royal council after the death of his elder brother, Aubrey Nkwana Phasha, in 2003.