A police officer has been shot and killed after engaging alleged hijackers in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga, police said on Sunday.
Constable Thabo Mduli is the second police officer to die this weekend after a constable was killed in KwaNyuswa in Hillcrest, Durban, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said.
Muridili said Mdluli and two colleagues, a sergeant and another constable, were on routine patrol duties in Kwaggafontein.
"While driving along the R573 road in Vlaklaagte, they came across a Toyota Corolla on the side of the road, with the hazard lights flashing. As the three members approached the Corolla, it sped off. The policemen followed the car, resulting in a high-speed chase for a few kilometres until it stopped."
A suspect alighted the vehicle and shot at the officers.
"The police returned fire, but Constable Mdluli was hit. While the other two uninjured members were attending to Constable Mdluli, the suspects fled the scene on foot."
Muridili said the remaining occupant in the vehicle told police he had been hijacked and that the suspects who fled the scene had been holding him hostage.
"He alleged that the three suspects had been in a white sedan that had a blue light. The sedan left as soon as they hijacked him. However, before the suspects could drive off with him in the car, the three police officers arrived."
She said the province had implemented the 72-hour activation plan "and all the necessary resources needed to investigate this incident have been mobilised".
"The members that escaped the attack have been afforded the initial debriefing as prescribed by the Employee Health and Wellness. The family of the deceased member will also be afforded the necessary bereavement support."
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole called on the team investigating the incident to find and arrest the perpetrators.
"We need to do everything possible to find these people masquerading as police officers, and roaming around hijacking unsuspecting law-abiding citizens. These suspects must be arrested and made to face the full might of the law, both for the killing of our colleague as well as for the hijacking," he said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspects can send crime tip-offs on the MySAPSApp or contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. All information received will be treated with the strictest confidence.