Deputy Justice Minister Makwetla’s hijackers arrested
Babalo Ndenze | 2017-05-25 19:36:32.0
Correctional Services deputy minister Thabang Makwetla during his visit at the Boksburg Correctional Services Centre on October 05, 2016 in Ekurhuleni, South Africa. The visit was aimed at showcasing the prisoners’ rehabilitation progress and development at the centre.
Image by: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lucky Morajane
The police have made a breakthrough in the hijacking and kidnapping of deputy justice minister Thabang Makwetla‚ arresting four suspects.
Police minister Fikile Mbalula made the announcement on Thursday evening.
Makwetla’s ordeal took place this past Sunday at about 7.30pm outside Life Riverfield Lodge Clinic in Randburg.
Makwetla was on his way to visit ANC stalwart Wally Serote in the hospital. He was travelling alone in his private vehicle‚ a Range Rover.
He was accosted by armed men in the hospital parking lot who forced him and security guards from the hospital into Makwetla’s car.
Mbalula said a police task team followed up on reliable information and one of the suspects‚ a 24-year-old Brandon Mashigo‚ was arrested in Garankuwa on Monday. He appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. The other three suspects were arrested on Thursday morning.
Mbalula said the fact that some of the suspects were repeat offenders pointed to problems in the criminal justice system.
“The question of recycled criminals in communities is a reality. Some of those people arrested there are linked to other cases. It’s not just people who have been first time offenders. They are basically people who have appeared before the courts. I want to commend the police for the speed in terms of response‚” said Mbalula.
He said certain criminal cases are “withdrawn dubiously” and suspects continue to commit crimes in communities.
“The trio in custody will appear together with Mashigo in the Garankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of kidnapping and hijacking.
Makwetla’s ordeal lasted for about eight hours‚ finally ending when he and the two hospital guards were dumped in an open field in North West.
Makwetla’s spokesman‚ Ntime Skhosana‚ said earlier this week that after a short drive the suspects went to an ATM to withdraw money.
“They asked him [Makwetla] for his [bank] pin to withdraw money. They withdrew an undisclosed amount from his account. Thereafter‚ they drove to a nearby settlement where they changed cars. They took him and the security guards from his car into their own car. They drove for quite a long distance into the bushy areas in Madidi [in North West] where they were dumped‚” Skhosana said.
He said the trio were assisted by a passerby who helped them contact the police.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE