Drama in tanker hijacking case


File picture: Independent Media

Tears, organised crime syndicates in Durban targeting fuel tankers, and a foreigner with attitude, made up the drama in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday when three police officers appeared on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The three officers from Brighton Beach police station – Warrant Officer Gordon Shangase, 46, Warrant Officer Scelo Ndlovu, 34, and Constable Bhazani Mseleku, 30 – were arrested by colleagues after a probe into the hijacking of fuel tankers and the theft of diesel worth R5 million.

The three policemen were in the dock with a fourth accused, Zimbabwean national Gijima Nyarugo, 36, who waved to the packed gallery.

The arrests took place after an initial probe was conducted into several reports of hijackings of fuel tankers.

This has now led to a further investigation of 25 fuel tankers hijacked in the last six months.

The investigating officer’s affidavit submitted to the court for the bail hearing by state prosecutor Mahen Naidu detailed the charges.

Naidu said the reasons for opposing bail included that “the offences were committed in a brazen manner with firearms”.

The offences had been well planned and executed, and had all the hallmarks of a crime syndicate.

Other members of the group were evading arrest and posing a threat to the accused and witnesses.

“It is well known (that) organised crime syndicates very easily turn on each other. This is one such situation,” the affidavit says. It also highlights the dangers of decanting fuel.

Defence lawyer Nerissa Farrington said the State did not have a strong case, and the evidence …

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