Tears as court hears of hijack

2017-04-26 14:00
Police dog handler tells of chase through city.

Police dog handler tells of chase through city. (File)

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A police dog handler on Tuesday described a dramatic high-speed chase that took place in June last year through the city in pursuit of a hijacked car.

The chase ended when the driver lost control and hit a street light pole in Oribi Road.

Sergeant Muzumuhle Khumalo of the K9 unit said after he shouted warnings to the three fleeing occupants to stop running, he had released his dog, Raja and ordered him to “apprehend”.

The dog caught one of the suspects, who was identified as one of three men now on trial in the high court, Philani Malinga (31).

Khumalo was giving evidence at the trial of Msizi Ndlela (33), Thabani Madondo (27) and Malinga, who face multiple charges including the murder and robbery of elderly Pietermaritzburg pensioner Muziwamadoda Nkandi and his wife, Duduzile, at Sweetwaters, as well as for allegedly hijacking and abducting Njabula Ndlovu in his white VW Golf the same night — June 28, 2016.

Ndlovu (29), who is now training at the Pretoria police college, broke down in tears on Friday when he described his traumatic ordeal at the hands of three assailants who hijacked him at gunpoint and forced him into the boot of his car. “When I see him everything comes back and rewinds in my head”, he told Judge Anton van Zyl, referring to Ndlela, whom he identified as the man who pointed a handgun at him during the ordeal.

Ndlovu said he clearly saw Ndlela’s face when he and his accomplices opened the boot and demanded money from him.

He said his pockets were searched and the robbers took “more than R200” cash from him.

He had also pointed Ndlela out in a police identity parade, the court heard. It is alleged that shortly after the murder and robbery at the Nkandi homestead the robbers stole a Toyota Corolla.

They encountered Ndlovu driving along the Caluza road in his white VW Polo and decided to also rob him of his vehicle. Ndlovu was eventually released on the side of the road. He said he was familiar with the area and walked to Mountain Rise police station, where he reported his abduction and hijacking.

Khumalo told the court that he and a colleague were on the lookout for a number of vehicles reportedly hijacked that night when they saw a white VW Polo fitting the description of Ndlovu’s car.

“I turned down Boshoff and gave chase,” he said. Khumalo described a high-speed pursuit that eventually ended when the Polo drove across the railway tracks at Oribi Road and veered out of control, smashing into a light pole.

“I noticed the suspects running away from me. One had already jumped a wall. I shouted I had a police dog and they must stop running or I will use my dog to apprehend,” he said.

When they did not respond he sent Raja after them. His dog got hold of the man later identified as Malinga. “I ran as fast as I could to remove my dog and avoid further injuries,” he said.

Khumalo said he seized a cellphone in Malinga’s possession and found a number of items in the stolen car, including a pellet gun, which is one of the items allegedly stolen from the Nkandi household.

The case is proceeding.

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