R50 for half a cow

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

When a man from Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, bought half a cow for a mere R50 and a beer, he must have thought lady luck was smiling on him.

But little did he know that the three men who had sold him the bargain were employees of Bull Brand who had faked a hijacking.

The 21-year-old man got a rude awakening when four armed officials from a tracking company pounced and arrested him and the three employees of the meat company.

Bull Brand logistics manager Andries de Bruyn told Sowetan yesterday that the meat in the truck was valued at about R180000.

The crew was from Krugersdorp, on the West Rand and the truck was destined for Woodmead, Johannesburg.

There were 100 hind quarters of meat but only 67 were recovered. De Bruyn said the driver of the truck was employed two weeks ago.

The truck driver said: "We were hijacked by three men in a black bakkie. They ordered us to switch off our cellphones but I did not, I just put it in my sock.

"The men were armed. They ordered me to drive. I don't even know where I am right now. They removed the tracking device while I was driving."

The 21-year-old man, who works as a packer in Booysens, Johannesburg, told Sowetan: "I returned from work and found three men offloading meat near my house. They sold me a large piece for R50. I also gave them a bottle of beer.

"They loaded some of the meat onto a bakkie. I did not see where it disappeared to," he said.

The trio's plans were on track until at about 9am when De Bruyn received a call from the tracking company saying they could not locate the truck's signal.

"I told them to treat the matter as a hijacking. The last time we got a signal was when the truck was driving along Main Reef Road.

"About an hour later they called me again and told me the truck was traced to Eldorado Park. When I arrived there with the tracking company officials, my employees were offloading the meat. They ran away but the tracking company team gave chase and arrested them," said De Bruyn.

He said the company had been hit five times in similar robberies in the past six months. They have lost meat valued at more than R1million.

"It's clear that this is an inside job. In the past six months, we had five similar incidents where a driver and crew were supposedly hijacked.

"Just last week, a driver tried to bribe a guard at a security check point. The meat on the truck was overloaded by 39kg. I only heard about the incident today."

He said he tried to call the crew but their phones were on voicemail.

Police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said: "It seems they were delivering the meat to different places. They have been charged with theft and are expected to appear in court soon."