Court hears of bloody shootout in Msinga heist

2012-08-28 00:00

AN alleged member of a gang which robbed a Krans­kop store during a bloody shootout hid under a tree from a searching helicopter and threw away packets of money in a bid to get rid of the booty.

Another suspect who fled into the Msinga bush lay on a rocky outcrop while pointing a gun and firing it at the helicopter.

A crew member in the helicopter shot him in the leg and he was arrested by policemen who had followed the gang members in vans for about 60 km after the robbery.

The helicopter, from the Durban SAPS Air Wing, helped to round up the gang members within three hours of the robbery.

These facts emerged yesterday in the trial of the five alleged gang members charged with 19 offences, including five attempted murders of two women, two children and a man, and six of attempting to murder six policemen in the shootout in Kranskop and during the police pursuit of the gang.

Other charges relate to the theft of two bakkies in Hillbrow that were to be used in the robbery of the Kranskop store; aggravated robbery of store personnel; unlawful possession of two semi-automatic pistols with erased serial numbers; and unlawful possession of an automatic Uzzi sub-machine gunand two pistols.

The incidents occurred in July 2010.

More than 50 shots were fired in the store during the incident.

The accused are Sizwe Ntshangase (25), Muzi Ndawonde (25), Mlungisis Magwaza (22) all of Nkandla, and Bongikwema Langa (30) and Phumlani Mpembe (26), both of Ladysmith. They have pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges.

Mzwandile Mngoma (31) of Nkandla absconded, apparently after he was mistakenly released from jail.

Lieutenant-Colonel Caroline Minnaar, Kranskop police head, said she heard shots and was phoned and informed about the robbery and shootout.

She called the Durban Air Wing and the helicopter landed in Kranskop and was then directed to the area where the gang were seeking refuge. Greytown police also hurried to the scene.

Acting Judge Tonjeni is presiding the case, which has been set down for this week.

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