Hijackers dump Mpumalanga MEC Speedy Mashilo near Midrand after 7-hour kidnap ordeal, R25K cash stolen
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Johannesburg – Mpumalanga’s Human Settlements MEC Speedy Mashilo was on Thursday afternoon hijacked near KwaMhlanga, kidnapped for seven hours and allegedly had R25 000 in cash stolen, as well as over R80 000 withdrawn from several bank cards.
His hijackers allegedly flashed a gun at him while he was driving his Toyota Hilux Legend 50. They bundled him into the back of the car and drove him to the East Rand and eventually dumped him in Olifantsfontein, near Midrand.
ANC Nkangala regional spokesperson Sello Matshoga, who relayed the events of Mashilo’s hijacking to IOL said the hijackers, who used a BMW sedan, had pointed a firearm at him and forced him to stop in a dangerous area between Ekangala and KwaMhlanga.
It was only hours later, with his phone ringing repeatedly, that the hijackers apparently learnt he was an ANC regional chairperson and MEC, and they decided to dump him.
Matshoga said the hijackers fled with the bakkie, his cellphone, bank cards, a hunting rifle, a laptop and they managed to withdraw around R80 000 from his bank cards. The police however, said R25000 which had been stashed in a brown envelope was stolen and they could not confirm the R80 000 allegedly withdrawn from his bank accounts.
Mashilo had apparently booked his protectors off until Sunday, as he was due to take part in a hunting event at the weekend, said Matshoga.
“When he was driving on his way to the hunting site where he was going to meet up with another group, these guys were following him in their car. They overtook him and pointed a gun at him through the window and forced him to stop.
“They forced him to lie in the back of the car until they got to the East Rand where they asked him for his bank pins and they started withdrawing money from the accounts.
“Fortunately for him, he does not have bank apps on his phone, so they were only able to withdraw R80 000, so the limits really saved him because they would have taken everything,” he said.
Mpumalanga police have confirmed the incident in a detailed media statement to IOL on Saturday.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said police had launched a manhunt for the suspects.
“Speedy Mashilo was driving his Toyota Hilux bakkie on the R568 road between Ekangala and KwaMhlanga at around 12pm when he was suddenly overtaken by a BMW sedan with one visible occupant.
“Suddenly two unknown occupants, whom were not visible pointed guns at him and forced him to stop.
“He was then forced into their BMW and drove off with him whilst the other suspect was driving his bakkie,” said Mohlala.
Mohlala confirmed the hijackers drove with the MEC to an East Rand township, took him into another car and eventually dumped him in Olifantsfontein around 8pm.
“He walked to the nearby road where he was assisted by a passing-by security vehicle.
“The suspects robbed him his Toyota Hilux, bank cards, brown bag (with R25000 inside), groceries, wallet and licensed hunting rifle with 25 rounds of ammunition,” said Mohlala.
Meanwhile, Matshoga said the hijackers only realised belatedly that they had hijacked a high profile person as the MEC’s phone rang repeatedly. In a bid to quell suspicion, he was apparently allowed to take several calls.
“People were calling left, right and centre, and then they asked him who he is and he told them. They said to him ‘you are going to give us problems’ and then they dumped him in Olifantsfontein,” he said.
The MEC then sought help and was able to contact his wife, who then arrived with his protectors.
“The car was last reported to be in the Zeerust area.
“When they left they gave him his bag and his ID, but they kept the bank cards, cellphone and the rifle,” he said.
Matshoga said the car had yet to be recovered, but he said Mashilo was “fine” after the ordeal.
“He is fine, he was not harmed at all in the ordeal, fortunately, and the bank limits really saved him because they could have taken everything,” said Matshoga.
“The provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga must really do something about that area because there is no patrol in that area and to make it worse, you lose network there, so the criminals take advantage.
“When you enter the area Tracker sends a message warning it's a hijacking hotspot, so we hope that the Provincial Police Commissioner will do something about this area,” said Matshoga.
Police are investigating a case of carjacking at the Olifantsfontein Police Station and the docket would be transferred to KwaMhlanga Police Station.