ON FRIDAY, they were wanted in connection with bank robberies.
A mere 48 hours later, Khumbulani “KB” Sibanda, 37, and a man known only as “Ogies” were behind bars.
Sibanda and Ogies were arrested at about 8pm yesterday after the Cape Argus and other newspapers from the Independent stable published photos from CCTV footage, seeming to show the men during a robbery at an Absa Bank branch at the Monument Park shopping centre in Pretoria on Thursday, and naming them as two of South Africa’s four most wanted men.
Two others, a driver known as “Trevor” and the prison warder who helped the trio escape had also been arrested, police said late last night.
The kingpin, Bongani Mojo, 29, is still on the run.
He has been identified as being behind at least 35 bank robberies.
He is believed to work with Sibanda and Ogies. The three have been labelled South Africa’s “most wanted”.
Before the men’s arrest, a man, Knotwell Masa, was shot dead during the raid. Police said he opened fire on them and was in possession of a pistol with its serial numbers filed off and a wad of cash.
But his wife, Edith Dube, said he was a primary school teacher, did not own an firearm and did not live in the flat.
Hawks spokesman Colonel McIntosh Polela said the Independent Complaints Directorate would investigate the man’s death.
A fourth “most wanted” man, Victor Baloyi, is still sought in connection with a cash-in-transit heist and murder relating to an incident in August at a Sasol garage on the R511 outside Pretoria.
Mojo and his two accomplices have been linked to more than 50 bank robberies since 2006. Police describe the four as dangerous.
Sibanda, who has been linked to 14 bank robberies across the country, and Ogies, his alleged accomplice, had nearly got away.
When the Hawks swooped last night on the Norwood flat in which Sibanda and Ogies were believed to be hiding, the two were nowhere to be found. Instead, Masa opened fire on the officers. Police returned fire, killing him.
But it was Sibanda’s girlfriend, who was taken into custody when police raided the flat, who led the police to a block of flats across the road, where Sibanda and Ogies were waiting.
Sibanda had been contacting her on her cellphone.
It is believed that the two had slipped out during the raid.
“In the next room we found the clothing Sibanda was wearing in the CCTV footage,” Polela said.
Sibanda had lived with his girlfriend and four-year-old child in the flat, renting one of the rooms.
The room had a new children’s bike, a bed, computer equipment, a TV and clothing.