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2022/05/25      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 24 May 2022 - The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has reiterated the call for members of the public to refrain from hitch-hiking. The caution by the General comes in the wake of yet another incident whereby a 32-year-old woman escaped with her life from her capturer who gave her a lift as she was hitch-hiking yesterday, Monday 23 May 2022. Fortunately she managed to escape and the suspect was arrested by police this morning, Tuesday 24 May 2022 at Mzinti near Komatipoort (in Nkomazi). A firearm as well as drugs were seized at the house where the woman was held.

According to the report, whilst the woman was hitch-hiking around 19:00 yesterday (23 May 2022) from Block-C Block-A, a man driving in a grey VW Golf emerged and offered her a lift.

It is alleged that along the way the woman was given a drink and thereafter passed out. She reportedly woke up at a certain house known to her around 12 midnight. The man who was allegedly in possession of a firearm held her hostage but she somehow managed to escape and reached the main road.

The female victim eventually made it to the Tonga Police Station where she reported the incident. The members immediately followed the detailed information as described by the victim thereby making it to the house where she was earlier held hostage.

Fortunately the suspect who is from KZN Province was found by the police and swiftly arrested. Further than the firearm and ammunition that members found in the possession of the suspect at the scene, they discovered 392 grams of dagga, as well as 44 sachets of nyaope. The astute members also found that the serial numbers of the firearm were filled off.

The investigation team will dig deeper in their probe to establish whether the man is not involved in other similar incidents of that nature. Police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges against him the investigation continues. He is currently facing charges, including illegal possession of a firearm with ammunition, possession of illegal drugs and could be linked to the woman's kidnapping incident.

Whilst appreciating the exceptional work done by the members, the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has voiced out her concerns regarding some members of the community who continue to disregard the countless pleas to avoid hitch-hiking and thereby falling prey to the snare of the criminals who room around looking for those they can devour, especially on the roads where people are asking for lifts or giving lifts to others, which obviously plays their lives at risk "We are very much concerned that even after constantly urging our people not to hitch-hike, they continue to do so hence incidents such as this.

We hope people will come to learn from this experience and try to use safe modes of transport regardless of the costs" advised the General.