Two SANDF soldiers in dock for stealing weapons from military base
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Pretoria – Two South African National Defence Force soldiers accused of stealing rifles and pistols from a Pretoria military base have been granted bail.
Lance Corporal Sidwel Babini Tyawana, 36, and Sapper Tumelo Christian Mangale, 28, were arrested following a joint investigation by the Military Police and Gauteng branch of the Hawks National Priority Violent Crimes (NPVC).
A total of 18 R4 rifles and three pistols had gone missing from the SA Army Engineer Formation Tek Base in Lyttelton. It was eventually discovered that the stolen firearms had been hidden while others were sold to various people, particularly in the Ekurhuleni area.
The investigation led to the arrest of Tyawana in Oudtshoorn on February 3. Two days later, Mangale was arrested while on duty at the SA Army Engineer Formation.
They were granted bail on Wednesday by a senior military judge. The two suspects are expected back in court at Thaba-Tshwane on June 17.
Following leads, another suspect, Kgotso Mooketsi, 36, an employee of the Department of Education in Gauteng, who was out on bail for an unrelated armed robbery case, was arrested in Springs in possession of an R4 rifle and three empty magazines.
Mooketsi was charged and last appeared at the Springs Magistrate's Court this month. He was remanded in custody pending his next court appearance on May 4.
A relentless pursuit by the joint investigations team led them to Daveyton, where a further 13 R4 rifles and a 9mm pistol were recovered.
Another firearm, a 9mm pistol, was recovered in a veld in Kwa-Thema. The recovered firearms were sent for ballistic testing in Pretoria.
The national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has applauded the joint investigation team and urged them not to rest until the remaining unaccounted firearms are recovered, and also make sure that everyone involved is brought to book.
SANDF chief General Solly Shoke also commended the swift action of the joint investigation team and reiterated that the military is not a place for criminals.