Officer tells of shootout with gang

2012-11-22 00:00

AN alleged robber hiding in the mountains of Msinga flung his cash loot into the air when cornered by a police helicopter, the high court here heard yesterday.

The money was blown away by the wind caused by the hovering helicopter’s propeller blades, Constable Thandokuhle Mhlongo testified at the trial of five men facing multiple charges.

They include numerous counts of attempted murder as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances of a pension pay point at the kwaSiyabonga Butchery in Kranskop on July 2, 2010.

According to Mhlongo’s evidence, he was involved in the arrest of four suspects — three of whom are among the five men currently on trial in the high court.

One of the suspects he arrested, Mzwandile Mngoma (31), absconded before the trial started.

The court heard how Mhlongo and a colleague had pursued the robber gang to a homestead in the Msinga area after recognising their two getaway bakkies from a description which was circulated.

Mhlongo said shortly after arriving at the homestead they came under rapid fire from the gang.

From a donga they had returned fire, calling for backup and more ammunition as theirs had run out.

He was told that a police helicopter was en route.

When the chopper arrived the suspects fled into the mountains.

Mhlongo and other officers had pursued them, and he was involved in arresting accused Sizwe Ntshangase (25), Mlungisi Magwaza (22) and Muzi Ndawonde (26) and the escapee, Mngoma.

Mhlongo described how Ntshangase — hiding at the base of a tree — had flung money into the air as the chopper came closer.

He said he spotted Magwaza up in a tree holding a firearm in each hand. He had shot him in the foot and he fell down. A revolver and pistol were recovered.

When confronted, Ndawonde allegedly emerged from his hiding place with his hands raised and said “please don’t kill me”.

The court heard that another Kranskop policeman, Constable Brian Mhlongo, was having a haircut in the town when he heard shooting. He said he saw a man in a white vest firing an AK-47 in town. He began shooting back, but stopped because people’s lives were in danger. He saw the robbers take off in two bakkies and raised the alarm.

The case is continuing.

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