Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A Sekhukhune Magistrate Court has granted bail to three Zimbabweans accused of teaming up with six South Africans to rob a post office in Atok under Apel policing area on Wednesday last week.
The suspects are reported to be part of a syndicate targeting major post offices where most social grants payouts are processed every monthend.
South African Police Services (SAPS) provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo yesterday said that the nine were charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
He said Tatenda Ruzive (24), Zephania Gwadivenga (28) and Raphael Ngwenya (27) all Zimbabweans, along with South Africans; Tebogo Nchabeleng (28), Tsebisho Ntswane (25), Kabelo Pilusa (27), Tebogo Ramaila (33) and Isaac Tios (28) were each released on R1 000 bail pending trial to 18 September.
The ninth suspect, Kgokong Mohlale Danny Tebeila (40), a parolee was returned to prison following his parole revocation.
“The suspects were arrested during a snap operation that was conducted by members of the Tactical Response Team and Crime Intelligence,” said Brig Mojapelo.
“We received information about a possible armed robbery at a post office in Atok under Apel policing area and reacted swiftly leading to the arrest of the suspects.
“A suspicious vehicle, (Ford Ranger) with three occupants was spotted along the D4180 road between Atok and gaSelepe.
“Soon after stopping, the driver suddenly got out and allegedly pointed at the members with a firearm. The suspect was then shot and the firearm taken. He was taken to hospital where he was admitted under police guard”.
He said another vehicle, a Toyota Quantum with five occupants was spotted along the D4190 in the Atok area and the driver was also ordered to stop.
Brig Mojapelo said the car was then searched leading to the discovery of a hidden firearm and all five suspects were subsequently arrested.
The senior police officer said they were also pursuing four unknown suspects in connection with a related armed robbery incident that occurred on Thursday last week at a post office in Seshego Zone 4 in Polokwane.
“The suspects who were allegedly armed with firearms entered the post office where Social grants were being paid out and demanded money from the tellers.
“They managed to overpower the security official on duty and wrestled away his service pistol. After which they fled from the scene with an undisclosed sum of money,” said Brig Mojapelo.