KZN robbery suspects die after crashing vehicle during police chase
Three alleged robbers were killed and two others critically injured when they crashed a vehicle believed to have been stolen during a high-speed police chase near Ntuzuma, north of Durban, on Thursday night.
According to several sources close to the investigation, three of the men had robbed and severely beaten an elderly taxi owner at his home in eSikhawini, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The men, one of whom was armed, proceeded to tie up the victim and rob him of his cellphones. They then allegedly fled the scene in the victim's blue Toyota Avanza.
The vehicle had been fitted with a tracking device and members of Tracker Connect alerted members of Marshall Security, Ntuzuma SAPS and Durban K9 Unit to intercept the car which was heading towards Durban.
A high-speed chase ensued when the vehicle was positively identified.
The vehicle was chased from M25 Dube Village towards Ntuzuma G, when the driver lost control going around a bend and crashed into a yard.
Two of the men died on the scene while another died after being transported to hospital. The two remaining suspects are being held under hospital guard at KwaMashu Police clinic.
Police did not respond to queries at the time of publication.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, two men from KwaMashu were sentenced to 25 years in prison for car hijacking, attempted murder and armed robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
In a statement, police said the two men cried as the judgment was handed down at the Ntuzuma magistrate's court on Tuesday.
According to police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele, on December 29 2017 at about 11pm, a 29-year-old man and his friends were in his stationary vehicle at Siyanda when they were approached by Qaphelani Shandu, 35, and Lucky Ncube, 28.
“At gunpoint the suspects ordered them out of the vehicle. They were robbed of their car keys and cellphones. The suspects fled in the stolen vehicle.”
Mbele said police were immediately alerted and shortly afterwards officers from Ntuzuma SAPS spotted the vehicle and attempted to intercept it.
“The three men opened fire on police and a chase ensued. When police eventually pulled the vehicle over they found that Siphamandla Mpanza, 21, and Shandu had sustained gunshot wounds during the shoot-out.”
Two unlicensed firearms were found in their possession and they were taken to hospital under police guard.
“The third suspect, Ncube, managed to evade arrest during the shoot-out, however the investigating officer, acting on a hunch that the suspect would require medical attention, managed to trace and arrest him.”
After several appearances at the Ntuzuma magistrate's court, Shandu and Ncube were denied bail.
“A some stage Siphamandla Mpanza was granted bail by the court and he absconded. Mpanza is still at large,” said Mbele.