A man died early Wednesday morning after he got involved in a shootout with members of the police’s national intervention unit.
The 51-year-old man apparently fired several shots at the officers despite the fact that the officers identified themselves as members of the police on several occasions.
Brig. Selvy Mohlala, police spokesperson, says the incident took place in the early hours of the morning at a house in Barberton, Mpumalanga.
“The police received information about a person in the area who is in possession of explosives. The members went to a house at 04:00 and upon their arrival identified themselves as police officers. The officers even turned on their blue lights outside to show that they were police officers. However, there was no response and after several attempts to be let in, the officers were forced to force the gate open,” he says.
“Soon after, the officers were greeted with shots and they had to find cover in a hurry. The officers tried again to indicate that they were from the SAPS, but in the end had no choice but to shoot back.”
The shooting resulted in a man being hit in the house. He sustained a number of injuries and while paramedics were en route to the scene, he died of his injuries.
The officers called Nelspruit’s explosives department, and together they came across a pistol, a few cartridges and another firearm next to the man’s body. The police also seized a few explosive devices, 19 fuses, as well as 20 shell casings inside the man’s house.
“Given the illegal items that were seized, the officers were convinced that the deceased was the man they were looking for,” says Mohlala.
The independent police investigation directorate (Opod) has already been notified of the incident and will launch an investigation into the events.
Opod will also investigate a complaint of attempted murder of the police officers, as well as the violation of the Explosives Act and the illegal possession of explosives. The firearms will also be subjected to ballistic tests.
Lt. Gen. Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, provincial police commissioner, says infrastructure in the province is regularly blown up with explosives, especially ATM machines and safes.
“It is worrying when there are ready-made attacks of this nature. This is why our officer has been encouraged to act proactively to ensure that these incidents are stopped. We are hopeful that we will finally win this battle.”