File picture: SAPS (Twitter)

Modimolle - Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba has established a special task team to deal with criminal activities that appear to be taking root along the N1 south of Polokwane, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo said on Saturday.

"This after a horrific incident in which five people lost their lives in the early hours of this morning [Saturday] when their vehicle slammed into the back of a truck whose driver was being robbed by unknown suspects," Ledwaba said in a statement.

On Saturday, at about 2.30am, a truck allegedly experienced mechanical problems and stopped next to the road along the N1 between Modimolle Mountain and Kranskop Tollgate. Two suspects "suddenly emerged" and attempted to rob the driver.

"The truck driver immediately pulled off and as he got on to the road, a Toyota vehicle drove into the truck from behind. The robbers fired shots in the direction of the truck driver who did not stop, but proceeded straight to Naboomspruit police station. The occupants of the Toyota were in the process of getting out of the vehicle when two other vehicles slammed into them, killing five people on the spot.

“As we approach the festive period, people will be travelling to different destinations and we urge everyone to be and remain vigilant at all times, especially at night. Criminals often take advantage of the night and target motorists who sometimes stop alongside the road to relieve themselves,” Ledwaba said.

Cases of attempted armed robbery, attempted murder, and culpable homicide had been opened for investigation and no arrests had yet been made. Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects responsible was requested to contact Captain Richard Boshomane at 079-894-5501, or the police toll-free number 08600-10111, the Crime Line SMS 32211, or the nearest police station.

African News Agency/ANA