'diesel thieves' nabbed

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Eleven men were arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing diesel from the Great North Transport (GNT) company in Seshego outside Polokwane.

The theft of the diesel allegedly started last month.

The bus company apparently appointed a private investigating firm after receiving a tip-off from members of the public that diesel in Seshego was being "sold very cheaply".

It was previously alleged that some senior officials of GNT were involved in the theft and were selling the diesel to private motorists.

But it was subsequently discovered that some of the suspects, who allegedly include Zimbabweans who live in Moletji near Seshego, were actually working in cahoots with a local man in stealing the diesel from GNT buses.

It is alleged the suspects then sold the diesel at very low prices to truck drivers transporting goods from South Africa to Zimbabwe.

"We have arrested 11 men, including the owner of three houses who harboured these suspects," said chief investigator Simon Ramashilo.

"We received a tip-off from members of the public that a man was allegedly keeping Zimbabweans who were selling diesel from his house.

"We then set a trap for them. We sent one of our men to buy diesel from them. After money was exchanged, we arrested them. They led us to other houses in the village were they kept yet more containers.

"The men claim that they sell the diesel to motorists and truckers who transport goods to Zimbabwe," Ramashilo added.

He said the suspects would appear in the Seshego magistrate's court today on a charge of theft.

GNT is one of the biggest bus companies in the province and transports hundreds of people to and from their places of work in and around Limpopo.

Meanwhile, the trial of four police officers and 13 petrol attendants arrested in connection with the theft of petrol in Makhushane, near Namakgale, will start in the Phalaborwa magistrate's court next week.

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