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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Suspect found dead at scene of Transnet pipeline diesel theft identified

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The deceased man believed to have been an accomplice to the two caught for siphoning fuel from a Transnet pipeline near Vrede in the Free State has been identified as Katiso Tlakedi.

His identity came to light in an ongoing investigation by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team in the province. The cause of his death is still unknown.

Those apprehended regarding the crime are South African citizen Levy Alex Sambo (36) and Malawian national Elijah Kafodya (28), who face charges of theft and damage to infrastructure. They are remanded in custody until their next appearance, on 28 July. The two men were denied bail during their brief appearance in the Memel Magistrate’s Court on 15 June.

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Capt. Christopher Singo, spokesperson for the Hawks, said Tlakedi’s body had been found by the officers who responded to the call-out to the botched theft. He said the body was discovered at the scene where the pipeline had been damaged with the intent to siphon fuel.

Sambo and Kafodya was arrested when trying to flee in a white bakkie, upon seeing security officials patrolling along the fuel line.

The pipeline in question, near Vrede, is being targeted by brazen criminals. The Hawks’ ongoing battle against the syndicate has led to five men’s conviction between March and May this year.

In March Norman Tsvito (44) received 15 years’ direct imprisonment, while in May Tafadzwa Nhire (41) received 20 years’ direct imprisonment. The Hawks had arrested Nhire in 2020 after discovering a truck and two tankers with 58 681 litres of diesel, estimated to be worth more than R800 000. Other culprits were handed down lesser sentences in the form of a fine of R1 000 each. They are: Cliff Mtantho (46), Beckham Mtando (28) and George Katumba (56). – News24

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