Abandoned car found near scene where several officers were robbed of guns
Police are investigating whether the gang who carried out the horrific murder of a student and rape of his friend in Port Elizabeth at the weekend is linked to a recent spate of attacks on security and police officials and the theft of their firearms.
A gold VW Polo belonging to qualified medic and student Thabani Ngwekazi, 28, who was killed shortly after he and a fellow student were hijacked on Saturday night, was found abandoned near a park in Maguga Street, Kwazakhele, near the Wolfson Stadium, at about 10.30pm on Monday.
The car had been spotted earlier that evening driving around in Kwazakhele.
Maguga Street borders Stofile Street, where two police officers in a marked police van were hijacked and robbed about three weeks ago.
It is also only two streets away from Mnyanda Street, where an off-duty police officer was robbed at gunpoint about two weeks ago.
There have been seven separate attacks on police and security officers since last month, including the murder of a provincial traffic officer, with at least nine firearms stolen in the attacks.
The murder and rape of the students comes just weeks after police and security experts warned of an anticipated spike in hijackings and armed robberies due to the number of firearms stolen recently.
Ngwekazi and his female companion, 21, were hijacked outside the Varsity Park student residence in North End at about 9.30pm.
The six attackers, some of them armed, bundled the pair into the boot of the car, before raping the woman and murdering Ngwekazi. His body was found floating off Brighton Beach on Sunday afternoon.
Several police insiders said the link between the attacks on police and where the Polo was abandoned was significant. Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the recovery of the hijacked car was a step closer to making arrests.
“The VW Polo has been towed to our forensic vehicle testing booth where it is being combed for evidence,” she said.
Because of similarities in the earlier attacks and the latest hijacking, the Motherwell Cluster has been asked to look into any possible links. Ngwekazi was studying at NMMU’s department of emergency medical care. He was a medic for the state Emergency Medical Services in Mthatha. His family arrived in the Bay from Kwazulu- Natal yesterday to identify his body.
Before working for the state, Ngwekazi was employed by Gardmed Ambulance Services in Mthatha.
“He was one of friendliest people you will meet,” Gardmed owner Dave Gardner said yesterday.
“We were all shocked when we heard he had been killed. “He was such a promising medic and had the potential to really make an impact within the community. “It is just horrific that you choose a career to save lives and end up being killed like this.”
The Bay’s Emergency Medical Services will hold a memorial for Ngwekazi at Brighton Beach, where he was killed, this afternoon.