Blue light attack on MEC's car

2010-10-19 22:35

Johannesburg - Mpumalanga's safety, security and liaison MEC Sibongile Manana on Tuesday condemned an attack on human settlements MEC Madala Masuku by occupants of a car with a flashing blue light, her department said in a statement.

Masuku and two of his bodyguards were shot at and then robbed by men in a silver BMW five series with a flashing blue light at the Bapsfontein off-ramp on the N12 freeway, near Delmas, on Monday at around 20:15.

Manana called on the police to urgently investigate the incident and arrest those responsible "before other people fall prey to the criminals".

"These suspects pose a threat to the safety of our communities and they should be arrested in order to keep our province secured," she said.

Manana called on the public to assist the police with information if they spotted the BMW or knew the suspects.

She advised motorists to be cautious and to drive to the nearest police station if stopped by such a car.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said Masuku and his bodyguards were travelling near the Bapsfontein off-ramp when the BMW came up behind them, with blue lights flashing, signalling them to stop.

Also had blue light

Masuku's car also had a flashing blue light, and his driver kept driving.

"They (the BMW's occupants) fired a shot through the MEC's car and the driver then brought the car to a stop," said Hlathi.

After that, three men from the BMW, dressed in blue police uniforms, approached the MEC's vehicle and claimed they were looking for drugs and "other unlawful things".

"The MEC introduced himself and said he was an MEC, he was carrying no drugs, and that he was with his two bodyguards," said Hlathi.

The men said they would take the MEC and the bodyguards to a police station and verify their identities, but in the meantime they took six cellphones, a bodyguard's firearm and the car keys.

They later handed back the cellphones and fled the scene with the car keys and the firearm.

They drove off in the direction of Johannesburg.

Masuku's spokesperson was not immediately available to comment but Hlathi said the three were not physically hurt during the incident.

Police had not linked it to other potentially politically motivated incidents in the province and the possible existence of a "hit list".

Victor Mlimi, a deputy director in the Mpumalanga department of human settlements, was recently charged with fraud, forgery and uttering along with Sunday Times reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

Wa Afrika was in possession of a letter of resignation purportedly from the province's premier, David Mabuza.

The charges against Wa Afrika and Mlimi were withdrawn on September 8. Hlathi thought Monday's incident was "just mischief".

"Blue light gangs" - groups of people who take the appearance of police officers to get people to pull over to rob them - are not uncommon.

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