Police are deeply angry at the death of one of their own who was ruthlessly killed by ATM bombers in Hercules on Thursday morning.
Constable Mogomotsi Masango was shot when he and colleague Josias Botha stumbled on the bombing at a filling station in Van der Hoff Road in Hercules, west of Pretoria.
Masango is the second officer to be gunned down in the city by heavily armed gangs which continue terrorising the city. in 2010 Inspector Jaco Botha, 37, a senior Pretoria police officer, was gunned down in an ambush as he responded to an ATM bombing by a gang of gunmen armed with AK-47s on the corner of CR Swart and Lynette streets in Kilner Park.
Police have launched a manhunt for Masango’s killers, who are believed to be linked to other ATM bombings around the city.
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has urged officers to leave no stone unturned in finding the criminals who killed Masango.
According to the police, the robbers immediately opened fire when Masango and his colleague drove into the filling station.
More bullets were exchanged between the police and the gang. Masango died on the scene while the suspects sped off in a black Audi A4.
Shattered glass was scattered on the scene where Masango lost his life. The Audi in question is believed to have been involved in a number crimes and has been spotted on CCTV footage of other ATM bombings.
Mthethwa has condemned what he termed “the ruthless killing of our members by heartless scoundrels”.
Police spokeswoman Captain Katlego Mogale said the two policemen had tried to open fire but had been outgunned.
“It is alleged that there was an ATM bombing at about 3.30am. The sector vehicle that was patrolling the area responded to the explosion. Unbeknown to the members, the suspects lay in wait on the opposite side to the ATM. As the members approached, the suspects started firing shots at them.
“They tried to return fire but were already ambushed. A 27-year-old constable was fatally wounded. A manhunt for the suspects has been launched,” said Mogale.
A police source said they suspected that the car was only used for bombings and then locked up in a place where it could not be found.
“We suspect they only use it as a getaway car during these bombings, because it seems to be involved in many of these ATM attacks.
“If it was a car that was being used regularly it could have already been stopped by police investigating these ATM bombings. This appears to be a group that usually operates around Pretoria,” said the policeman.
Police are assessing CCTV footage from the filling station, which is believed to have recorded some parts of the incident.
Onn Thursday Mthethwa urged members of the public to provide any information that could help police track down the suspects.
“The killing of Constable Mogomotsi Masango is one too many, particularly when such members lose their lives while attempting to save civilians against these pitiless scavengers. That is why, as government, we want to reiterate that we will not be derailed by cowardly acts of violence against police.
“Tough as this war on crime may be, we commend our members who on a daily basis continue to soldier on in ensuring that society is safe. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the Masango family, his colleagues and friends,” he said.
The unknown number of suspects are believed to have used an R5 rifle against the two police officers, who arrived while they were loading money into the black Audi A4. It was still unclear how much money they took from the ATM, which is situated next to a liquor store.
Yesterday’s ATM bombing is the fifth such incident since January 2011.
An ATM was blown up in Atteridgeville, while another was blown up in Kwaggasrand on January 14.
These were followed by another bombing in Doornpoort four days later. Two ATMs were blown up at a Kwikspar Shopping Centre in Kloofsig on January 25. - Pretoria News