A 38-year-old Malawian truck driver who was recently shot in the head by two armed robbers while waiting to be cleared at the South African border succumbed to the wounds on Friday afternoon at Polokwane General Hospital.
Two unknown gunmen pounced on Robert Sakala’s vehicle along the N1 highway on March 29. Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said they were yet to make any arrests. He said anyone with information that may help in the identification and arrest of the suspects should contact Musina Station Commander Colonel Mukwevho or the Crime Stop number.
“The truck driver succumbed to gunshot injuries at a hospital in Polokwane on Friday afternoon. The case has now been changed from attempted murder to murder. Robert Sakala (38), was a driver of a white Power Star truck,” he said. “The police in Musina are investigating the matter and are appealing for information that may assist in tracing the two suspects who allegedly shot the truck driver and robbed him of an undisclosed amount of money as well as a cell phone along the N1 road next to the weighbridge”
Brigadier Mojapelo said the two men, one armed with a firearm, allegedly arrived at the truck and suddenly demanded money from Mr Sakala. He said the duo then shot and robbed him, and thereafter fled into the bushes. The matter, he said, was immediately reported to the police.
Mr Sakala was rushed to Musina hospital for medical treatment, where he was referred to Polokwane for further management. Truck drivers are now spending relatively more time in queues on either the Zimbabwean or South African side of the border.
The state of affairs has also seen criminals targeting freight/cargo movers at night, robbing them of money and cell phones. According to authorities from both countries, the volume of commercial trucks using Beitbridge started to increase late last year with transporters now avoiding the Botswana transit route due to very strict Covid-19 screening measures.
They said Botswana is retesting everyone entering or leaving through its borders even if the travellers have Covid-19 clearance certificates from their point of departure.
As a result, the truckers who used to cross from Zambia, Malawi, Angola, and DRC to South Africa through Groblersbrug Border are now using Beitbridge. South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said recently that in December 2019, 6 706 trucks went through Groblersbrug compared to 2 968 trucks last year during the same period.-chronicles