Cape Town - A 53-year-old truck driver was shot dead on Monday night when a group of seven suspects hijacked the truck he was driving near Coega in Nelson Mandela Bay, police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said on Tuesday.
It is believed that Absalom Mnisi was flagged down by the suspects, who were allegedly wearing reflective jackets and using a white vehicle with a blue light at about 7 pm.
A passing motorist spotted the truck and alerted the company to which it belongs. "The tracking device was activated and the truck recovered by police in Makepeace Crescent in Perseverance," Beetge said.
"At about 20:00 a police flying squad vehicle that followed the tracking signal found the White Volvo truck hidden behind a warehouse and on entering the premises, seven suspects fled from the truck into the warehouse".
Beetge said upon searching the warehouse, police managed to arrest five suspects with ages ranging from 27 to 41 years of age, "but the remaining two suspects managed to evade arrest".
"The truck and it's cargo of almost 23 tonnes of scrap copper with value of R1,9 million and a Mini Cooper vehicle, was recovered and impounded for forensic analysis".
On the scene, Beetge said, the police also found a white Ford Ranger vehicle (rental vehicle), a blue light, a reflective jacket, a large mobile radio frequency/signal blocker and seven cellphones that is believed to have been used during the hijacking by the suspects.
At about 09:30 a, on Tuesday morning, "the body of Mnisi was spotted by a passing motorist on an embankment close to Coega CBD on the N2 freeway and alerted police," according to Beetge.
"Mnisi was found with gunshot wounds to his back and neck. Murder and Hijack cases have been opened and is being investigated by the Eastern Cape Provincial Organised Crime Investigation team," he said.
He called on anyone who could assist police with this investigation to contact Lt Col Willie Mayi at 082 697 5914.
"All five suspects have been charged with possession of stolen property and police will investigate their role in the hijacking and murder".