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Hawks nab three truck drivers, recover stolen diesel worth more than R1.7m

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The Hawks have arrested three truck drivers and recovered stolen diesel worth over R1.7 million at a plot in Spaarwater, Heidelberg, south east of Johannesburg.

Three truck drivers, Sizwe Bhengu, 37, Brain Kanenhe, 36, and Rogers Muntu Mathabela 44, were nabbed on Saturday after one fuel tanker arrived empty at the Transnet diesel depot in Nigel. Two other tankers arrived with diesel volumes not matching those in the delivery papers.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha, said the investigators followed up on a theft of diesel after a report from the Transnet depot in Jameson Park, Nigel.

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“The investigators proceeded to a plot in Spaarwater, Heidelberg, on Wednesday, 31 August 2022, where the stolen fuel from the three tankers was recovered.

“A silver Ford Ranger that reportedly escorted the tankers to the plot was seized. It will now form part of the preservation application as it was involved in the commission of crime as well as about a stash of cash that was fund concealed in the house,” he said.

The plot was reportedly run by a Zimbabwean national who wasn’t found in the premises.

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“The investigation continues and more arrests are pending,” he said.

The suspects were arrested on Saturday and appeared in the Nigel Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the theft of the fuel valued at just over R1.7 million.

“It is reported that on Friday, 26 August 2022, late afternoon, three fuel tankers left Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal, destined for Jameson Park around Nigel in Gauteng to deliver about 76 302 litres of fuel,” Ramovha said.

“The first fuel tanker arrived at the destination on Saturday morning. When the hose was connected to the sump tank, there was no diesel coming out. The tanker was physically inspected and it was empty.

“The other two trucks were also inspected on arrival and there were discrepancies in the litres contained in the trucks as compared to the paperwork,” he said.

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The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team was called to the scene resulting in the arrest of the three.

The case against them was postponed to September 5 for a bail application.

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