Cash looting case deferred

Mpumalanga police are concerned about the spate of cash heists in the province

SEVEN men from Monakato village, near Rustenburg will appear in court on February 1 after being arrested for looting money after a cash-in-transit incident in their area. The men appeared in court this week facing charges of obstructing and/or defeating the ends of justice and theft of cash.

Since their arrest in September the men have been released on warning. The seven were among a group of people caught on video grabbing notes strewn all over the road after a cash-intransit vehicle was blown up.

The thugs who blew up the vehicle are still at large but police investigations are still ongoing. An unidentified number of people allegedly ambushed a cash-in-transit vehicle travelling on the Thabazimbi Rustenburg road and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. North West police spokesperson Brig Sabata Mokgwabone said: “The suspects blew the back portion of the van with explosives and managed to get away with an undisclosed amount of money. “No arrests have been made at this stage.” Mokgwabone said the provincial police management condemned the behaviour of people who went to the scene and picked up the notes. “What residents in the video doing rounds basically did was to contaminate the crime scene. This makes it difficult for the police to do their work and may actually lead to us failing to get to the suspects,” he said.

Mokgwabone said police residents should work with the police in cases of that nature and not to be on the side of thugs. “They also endangered their lives because there could have been explosives that were not detonated. As police, we are considering taking action against those found to have been involved.” Mokgwabone said video footage helped police in identifying those who have been arrested. “Subsequent to the looting, an investigation was launched regarding the suspects who committed the robbery as well as those who stole cash from the vehicle and in the process trampled on the crime scene which is considered to be a ‘holy ground’ and needs to be preserved at all times.”

The investigation led to apprehension of seven suspects aged between 20 and 58 and their case is being heard in the Bafokeng Magistrate’s Court. North West police commissioner, Lt Gen Baile Motswenyane, urged members of the community not to tamper with crime scenes but to preserve them for processing by the police. She also advised members of the community about the significance of crime scene. “Evidence collected and analysed at the scene of a crime can make or break a case,” she said.