botched robbery leaves FOUR dead

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

A pensioner, a security guard and two robbers died, while two other people were injured in a botched robbery at a pension payout in Moutse, Limpopo, yesterday morning.

The incident occurred in Kgobokwane village in the Dennilton area shortly before officials from the Mpumalanga social services department could start paying out pension grants at about 8am.

The deceased pensioner was identified as 75-year-old Jim Mogoru and the guard as Fikile Madonsela.

Mogoru also acted as a queue marshal at the pension point.

Scores of traumatised pensioners and hawkers were visibly shaken, with some quietly sitting under a tent next to computers as instructed by the gun-wielding robbers during the attempted robbery.

Others lay flat on the ground while curious onlookers stood in groups near the crime scene as police searched for clues.

About a metre from the front door of an armoured cash-in-transit vehicle and less than five metres from the frightened pensioners, lay the bloodied body of one of the robbers.

The bodies of Mogoru and Madonsela lay in the middle of the gravel road in front of the main entrance to the paypoint.

The other robber's body and a getaway Mini Cooper were found at Lefiso, about 3km from the scene of the botched robbery.

Pensioners at the robbery scene said the robbers parked their getaway cars a street away and apparently waited for the pensioners to arrive because the social services officials and the security guard had already arrived.

The majority of pensioners did not see how it all started but heard gunshots that prompted them to scuttle for cover.

Superintendent Ronnel Otto said the shooting between the robbers and four members of the Sonqoba Security company started at approximately 8am.

"Preliminary investigations reveal that a shootout ensued between the guards and the group of suspects when one of the guards stepped from the vehicle to open a gate."

She confirmed that the robbers fled the scene emptyhanded but managed to snatch two firearms from the guards. A manhunt has been launched for the remaining robbers.

Tanya Warren of Empilweni Payout Services described Madonsela as "one of our longserving security guards from Kanyamazane". She identified the other guard shot in the leg as Uazuvaije Tjivinda.

She said all staff involved in the incident would receive trauma counselling.

The dead pensioner was described by other old age grant receivers as a "lovable person and full of jokes" who enjoyed giving advise to young couples on how to have a healthy relationship in marriage.

He was among the first to arrive at the pay point to ensure that everything was in order. A fellow pensioner and queue marshal, Sello Moremi, (not his real name), told Sowetan of how he admired Madonsela long before he even started receiving the old age grant.

Moremi, who was a few metres away from where Madonsela and Mogoru were killed, said "after Madonsela was shot, his R4 rifle fell about five metres in my direction and I grabbed it at the same time as one of the robbers. We wrestled for sometime until a shot went off. I continued to hold on to it until he overpowered me but I managed to dislodge the magazine and ran away.

"The robber tried to fire at random but fortunately the rifle was empty. I handed the magazine to the officials after everything had died down."

Moremi sustained cuts to his hands during the struggle for the rifle.

A female hawker who had befriended Mogoru because his jokes and love for other people, said: "I cannot believe that I will no longer see him on payouts days and weekends."