Criminals posing as health workers caught trying to rob KZN farmer
Durban - SEVEN people who posed as Department of Health workers were arrested soon after they tried to rob a KwaZulu- Natal farmer.
They are expected to appear in the Utrecht Magistrate’s Court today.
The arrests have come at a time when civic organisations are voicing their concerns over a spate of farm attacks in the country.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said at midday on Monday, two men and two women pretending to be from the department entered a farm in Kingsley.
“The women were dressed in nurses’ uniforms. When they were questioned about their visit the farmer grew suspicious and alerted the police. The robbers drew firearms and demanded cash from the farmer. They fired several shots at the farmer and fled on foot. They abandoned their vehicle,” Mbele said.
Another vehicle with three occupants was spotted within the farm premises. They sped off when they saw the police arrive.
Mbele said a chase ensued and they were cornered.
She said swift reaction by police as well as local farmers resulted in the arrest of seven people.
Mbele said two pistols with 13 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
Those arrested are charged with attempted house robbery and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
Both vehicles were impounded for further investigation.
DA Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson Christopher Pappas said this was not the first time criminals used this modus operandi. He urged the public to get involved in local Community Policing Forums and crime prevention initiatives.
KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union spokesperson Sandy La Marque congratulated the police and the farming community for their swift and firm response to this farm attack.
“Of utmost concern is the blatant alleged misuse of the Covid-19 disaster to access private property. This case demonstrates that a good working relationship at the local level between SAPS and communities is critical.
“We urge all leaders to strengthen this working relationship which has additional benefits such as joint safety plans and operations which are well calculated and builds a barrier against criminals,” La Marque said.
Pappas said the suspects arrived in a vehicle marked as a Department of Health vehicle and presented themselves as government officials doing Covid-19-related work.
According to Ernst Roets, head of policy and action at AfriForum, there were 40 farm attacks in South Africa in June where five people were murdered. In July, there were a further 40 farm attacks with nine people murdered, and in August thus far there were eight farm attacks with one person murdered.