Mdantsane’s Ekoneni boss held for heist
Prominent Mdantsane businessman Zuko Thongo, who owns the township’s most popular hangout spot in NU1, Ekoneni Butchery, is among five men arrested in connection with the robbing of a courier van near Kei Road on the N6 on Tuesday.
Police said the gang members pointed firearms at the van driver and assistant before fleeing with stolen cargo, including new cellphones.
The gang, according to police, was later arrested in Mdantsane and Amalinda with a number of guns, including an R4 rifle, which was discovered in a Mercedes-Benz.
The arrests, according to Mdantsane police spokesperson Captain Nkosikho Mzuku, came after a high-speed chase around the township in which the suspects returned fire at the police.
Three of the five, including Thongo, appeared in the East London magistrate’s court on Wednesday, NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said. They face charges relating to possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, possession of stolen goods, attempted murder and armed robbery.
After they had finished, they locked the pair in the back of the bakkie and drove off in their Polo
Tyali said the three will appear again on Friday for a possible bail application.
The recovered R4, which had its serial number filed off, was loaded with a magazine with 10 rounds. Also found was a Walther 7.65mm pistol with three rounds and its serial number filed off, and a 9mm Norinco with three rounds, according to police.
Mzuku said the arrests were carried out by officers from the cluster crime combating team (CCCT) unit.
“Mdantsane CCCT members intercepted and arrested five suspects aged between 24 and 46.
“Prior to the arrest, a high-speed chase ensued and some suspects shot at police, but were later apprehended.
“Initial investigations led to a search of properties in Mdantsane and Amalinda, where boxes of cellphones and pots allegedly, belonging to the courier company, were discovered,” Mzuku said.
Kei Road police spokesperson Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said the courier was on the way to deliver goods in Komani.
“While on the N6 at around 9.45am on Tuesday, a passenger from a dark grey Polo, which had pretended to be overtaking the courier van, pointed a firearm and later fired a shot at the bakkie, ordering them to stop.
“The driver stopped and two African males came to them with a pistol and a rifle.
“They later put the driver and his passenger at the back of the bakkie and drove off with them towards Macleantown,” Mawisa added.
She said the gang members later pulled over on a gravel road going to the farms along the N6 and started offloading boxes from the bakkie to their Polo.
“After they had finished, they locked the pair in the back of the bakkie and drove off in their getaway Polo. A private bakkie which was passing by saw their bakkie and opened the door for them. They then contacted their company and went to report the incident at Macleantown police station.”
A number of Mdantsane locals, who frequent Thongo’s establishment, expressed dismay at the news. – DDR