Cop tells court of shootout in mall heist
Informed by community members of a shooting taking place at Greenacres Shopping Centre while patrolling the area, two police officers were met with gunfire when they attempted to investigate, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard on Friday.
Testifying in the case against four men accused of staging the brazen July 2016 Fischer’s Jewellers heist and subsequent murder of an innocent man, Constable Lonwabo Mhauli said when he and Warrant Officer Zukisani Ntsikeni arrived at the Greenacres parking area, they saw at least three men running out of the building wielding guns.
He said at least two of the suspects had guns.
Mhauli said when they ran after the men and ordered them to stop, the suspects had opened fire on them.
“I can’t say how many times they shot [at us] as there was crossfire between us,” he said.
During the commotion, two of the men attempted to hijack a red VW Golf which was reversing out of a parking bay.
When they were unsuccessful after the driver drove off, the gunmen tried to hijack a white Mitsubishi Colt bakkie parked next to the Golf.
The driver of the Mitsubishi, Ronald Goduka, 67, had been shot dead, Mhauli said.
He said he and Ntsikeni had chased the fleeing suspects in their police vehicle.
“When we approached Cell C [regional office] we saw one of the men run across Cape Road towards McDonald’s.”
He was apprehended by an Atlas Security officer and they then arrested him and put him in the back of their van.
Lindokuhle January, 21, Olwethu Dlanga, 21, Awonke Yako, 20, and Lonwabo Maweni, 42, have pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges against them, including murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Yako was arrested in Westview Drive by Mhauli and Ntikeni, while January and Dlanga were arrested the same day in a taxi in Schauderville.
Maweni was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
The case continues.