A Mpumalanga “thief” traffic officer abandoned a state vehicle and ran away in the bushes after he was attacked by an angry community in Limpopo. Picture: FRANCE NYAKA
A traffic officer from Mpumalanga traffic department is being investigated by the provincial department of community safety, security and liaison after he allegedly misused a state vehicle to escort his two tip trucks to steal loads of sand in poor Vaalkraal village near Dennilton on Saturday.
Angry community members arrived and nearly caught the culprit red-handed but he managed to escape and abandoned his patrol vehicle in the bushes near where the sand is mined.
he impoverished community mines the sand and sells it to make a living. When The New Age arrived at the scene, the traffic officer in private clothing ran away into the bushes and was pursued by some villagers.
His truck drivers and assistants were cornered by the community and ordered to offload the sand from the two trucks. Speaking to The New Age on the scene, one of the concerned residents, Francinah Madisha, said the unknown traffic officer did not have permission to take the sand.
"We demand answers from the authorities in Mpumalanga about the state vehicle being used to steal our sand. It is embarrassing to see a state vehicle being used for criminal purposes.
We have initiated the sand business to put food on the table for our kids, not for the Mpumalanga government," said Madisha.
Another resident Jabulani Matlala said they had always wanted to trap the traffic officer because they suspected him of stealing from the community property.
"We are pleased that we eventually managed to trace the criminal in a state vehicle. He is lucky because he did manage to escape otherwise he would have been attacked by us. Is the vehicle meant to maintain law and order on the roads or in the bushes?" said Matlala.
A ward committee member in the village, Lizzy Moleme, said the traffic officer was doing private business using state resources. "The Mpumalanga officer uses the state vehicle to steal sand from our village.
He then sells the stolen sand at R500 a load. We urge the Mpumalanga government to explain," said Moleme.
Provincial spokesperson for community safety, security and liaison Joseph Mabuza said they were not aware of the allegations.
Mabuza then requested The New Age to send him a picture of the state vehicle for investigation purposes