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Police probe link to deadly QwaQwa attack after victim turns gun on alleged robbers



Staff Reporter

Free State police have launched an investigation to establish if three suspects who were overpowered by one of the men they were trying to rob in QwaQwa on Monday could be linked to another robbery which left three students dead in the same area last week. 

One of the alleged robbers was injured after his gun went off during a tussle with the victim. He then shot and injured the other suspect after he took control of the firearm. 

“I have instructed the investigating team to look into the possible involvement of this group in the shooting of students which took place a week back in the same area of QwaQwa,” said the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane in a statement.

The statement, which was issued on Tuesday by provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, said two suspects believed to be under 30 were arrested in the Phazama section of Phamong Village after they were allegedly shot and wounded by a victim they were trying to rob.

It is alleged that at about 22:00 on Monday, the two victims were sitting separately in their rented rooms when they were attacked. 

According to the police, one of the victims was busy on his laptop while sitting on his bed when he was surprised by two suspects.

One of them was armed with a firearm and other one had a knife. 

“They robbed him his laptop, carry bag and a small amount of cash and left his room,” said Makhele. 

It is further alleged that the suspect who was carrying the firearm proceeded to the second room where he ransacked it in the presence of the owner who was seating and drinking a beer. 

“He demanded money from him but didn’t have any. Upon seeing that the suspect was concentrating on searching his room, he took a beer bottle and hit him on the head,” Makhele explained. 

The two both wrestled for the firearm which then went-off and wounded the suspect.

“Apparently, there was a third suspect who was waiting outside who fired a shot into the house upon hearing gunshot. The complainant allegedly returned fire and… wounded him and he fell on the ground outside. The third suspect who was in possession of a knife fled the scene,” said the police spokesperson. 

The injured suspects were immediately arrested and are under heavy police guard in hospital.

Two 9mm pistols without serial numbers were seized. 

The pair is expected to appear before Tseki Magistrate Court as soon as they recover.

They will face charges of house robbery, possession of an unlicenced firearm and ammunition as well as attempted murder. 

Last week, two UFS students at the QwaQwa campus were killed after three suspects pounced on them while they were having drinks as a group at their rented off-campus residence in the early hours of Wednesday. 

According to the police, the three suspects in balaclavas demanded cash, laptops and cellphones from the students. 

Two students were shot and killed on the spot during the robbery.

Two others were rushed to Mofumahadi Manapo Regional Hospital in a critical condition.

The other student succumbed to his injuries the following day.  

It was eventually confirmed that one of those who died on the scene was a student at the University of the Free State.

The other one was studying at a local college in the area. 

This means a total of three students died as a result of the attack, two of which are from the UFS. 

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail



THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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Six nabbed for alleged theft of network batteries



NABBED . . .  The six men believed to have stolen network batteries and damaged critical infrastructure

 Six men were due to appear in the Marquard Magistrates Court on Friday after being found in possession of eight network batteries believed to have been stolen.

Police spokesperson for the eastern Free State, Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring, said the suspects were arrested following a joint effort by members of the SA Police Service, private security and farmers.

He said police received information from the community at about 3am last Wednesday saying some unknown men were digging up network boxes and cutting copper inside a manhole.

“The police activated and mobilised other members and arrested the first suspect who is a foreign national near a filling station while sitting inside a vehicle,” said Mophiring.

The man was arrested for possession of suspected stolen property after eight network power box batteries were found in his possession and failed to properly account for them.

While pursuing the matter with the help of some farmers, the police received information at about 8am that some five men were trying to hitch-hike near a certain farm to Senekal.

“The team quickly responded and arrested the three suspects who were successfully linked to the initially arrested suspect. Two other suspects managed to escape but were chased and arrested near a farm going to Senekal. Four of the six suspects are Illegal immigrants and two are South Africans,” he explained.

The six are aged between 23 and 30 years of age.

They are facing charges of contravening the Immigration Act, possession of suspected stolen property and damage of infrastructure.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane applauded the community and the team for the prompt arrests and urged them to “continue working together to fight crime”.

Meanwhile, three suspected armed robbers were sniffed out of their hideout in Thaba Nchu near Serwalo on Thursday morning following a petrol station robbery.

Police spokesperson in Mangaung, Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli, said in a separate statement four armed robbers arrived at the petrol garage just after midnight on Wednesday and threatened the security guard with a firearm before tying him up with wire and fleeing the scene with a undisclosed amount of cash and cans of motor vehicle oil.

The suspects demanded keys from the guard and gained access to the back offices.

And while others were busy helping themselves to the oil cans and cigarettes, others were busy grinding the safe to access the money inside.

The four then left the security guard with his hands and feet tightly fastened with a wire.

The guard was only rescued by staff starting duty at 5am.

The matter was reported to the police and a case of armed robbery was opened at Thaba Nchu Police Station and a manhunt was launched.

Luck ran out for three of the suspects aged between 38 and 40 after they were traced and found near Serwalo in Thaba Nchu at about 2am on Thursday and were arrested.

They were found with an undisclosed amount of money suspected to have been stolen during the robbery.

One suspect remains at large.

The three were due to appear in the Thaba Nchu Magistrates Court on Friday for business robbery. – Staff Reporter

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Garden scissor attacker nabbed



THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

A 64-year-old man has been arrested after stabbing one person in the stomach with a broken garden scissor and injuring the victim’s family while holding them hostage.

Police say they were called to a place in Verkeerdevlei on Wednesday evening where a person had been stabbed in the stomach.

Upon arrival, they found a 53-year-old man who had been stabbed in the stomach with the broken scissor.

The suspect had already fled the scene.

“The victim was taken to hospital for medical treatment,” said Captain Stephen Thakeng in a brief statement.

Further investigations revealed that the same suspect went to the house of the victim’s 36-year-old daughter house where he held her and her two children – aged 13 and 15 – hostage.

“Tactical Response Team (TRT) members from Park Road were activated at about 21:30 and it was realised that the suspect was holding (the family) hostage in a three-roomed shack,” said Thakeng.

“The TRT members gained entry into the shack and rescued the three from the suspect.

“The three victims were also stabbed with the same half part of the big scissor.”

The suspect is facing a charge of attempted murder and three counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He will appear in the Verkeerdevlei Magistrates Court soon.

THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

Meanwhile, a man believed to be terrorising tuckshop owners around Bothaville was arrested on Wednesday following a tip-off by community members.

Police say they received information about a man with a firearm and who might be involved in robberies of tuck shops of foreign nationals at about 16:30.

The suspect’s house in Kgotsong was identified and members of Bothaville Crime Prevention approached it and asked for permission to search the place.

They were granted permission and a 9mm pistol was found and a 27-year-old man from Potchefstroom was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The suspect will appear in the Bothaville Magistrates Court soon. – Staff Reporter

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