The Star E-dition

Three bogus cops arrested in Lyttelton


THREE men who were pretending to be Gauteng police officers were arrested in Lyttelton last week.

According to Tshwane SAPS spokesperson Johan van Dyk, the trio, who yet to appear in court, were charged with robbery and impersonating police officers.

Van Dyk said the three armed men operated by stopping near their prospective victim while pretending to be police officers and then robbing them.

“They would tell the victims that they are police officers investigating a case and they need to see their cellphone to verify some information. They would then take the cellphone and place it in an envelope, however, it would be fake,” he said.

“The robbers then give the envelope back to the victim (with the fake phone inside) to open once the robbers are gone.”

He said that on Thursday the SAPS crime prevention unit patrolling the area spotted the suspects in a vehicle and apprehended them.

“They called for backup, stopped the suspects and searched the vehicle. The tools of their trade, fake cellphones and envelopes were discovered,” said Van Dyk.

“The detective services are currently busy linking several cases to these suspects and preliminary investigations established that the suspects were repeat offenders and had previously been arrested in the area for a similar crime.”

Incidents of suspects pretending to be cops have been rife in recent months. Earlier this year, the Hawks’ Tactical Operations Management Section arrested two truck hijackers impersonating Gauteng traffic officers near Atteridgeville in Pretoria West.

“Reports were received of a VW Polo and its inhabitants impersonating police officers and robbing victims of their cellphones,” the Hawks said at the time.

Last month, police arrested three men, aged between 36 and 43, for allegedly impersonating a police officer. The three allegedly robbed and hijacked people after threatening them while brandishing firearms.

Police spokesperson Colonel Adéle Myburgh said the men have been charged with possessing suspected stolen property and illegal firearms, theft, and robbery.

The arrests came after police received information of suspects driving a white Ford Ranger double cab bakkie, and possibly being involved in blue light hijackings and armed robberies.

“The vehicle was spotted in Potchefstroom and followed to Chief Albert Luthuli Street in Die Bult, where the team pounced on the unsuspecting suspects.

During the arrest, police discovered two firearms, a police uniform, a reflective jacket and other police equipment,” said Myburgh.

Their vehicle was equipped with a blue light and siren, as used in police vans.

“Initial investigations indicated that the vehicle, which was fitted with false number plates, was hijacked in Ivory Park, Tembisa.”

A STUNTMAN who was injured during a stunt in an ice cream van during the filming of a commercial, has lost his legal bid to claim R20 million in damages from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

Etiene du Toit turned to the Western Cape High Court where he claimed damages against Farm Film Productions after he had signed a contract with the company to do a television commercial.

The agreement required Du Toit to “jump or ramp” a vehicle modified to resemble an ice cream truck over Long and Leeuwen streets in Cape Town.

In terms of the agreement, Du Toit would be comprehensively insured for any loss, damage or injury sustained in connection with rendering the services contracted for.

He was given the assurance that the filming location of the commercial would be safe and all persons on the set would be sufficiently trained in the handling of the relevant equipment that Du Toit would encounter.

It was further agreed as per the contract that Du Toit would be made aware of all hazards on the set that may affect him and there would be sufficient risk control measures in place to protect him during the performance of his duties.

Subsequently he drove the modified ice cream truck over a ramp at the designated film location, at a speed and trajectory determined by the production company.

Du Toit alleged he was injured when the vehicle’s chassis and/or steering column and/or suspension and/ or driver’s seat collapsed upon landing or impact. He said he sustained spinal and head injuries.

Du Toit blamed Farm Film Productions for the incident, saying the company had failed to ensure the vehicle was suitably modified for the stunt.

The set-up of the ramp was incorrectly determined, he said, and the trajectory and speed of the vehicle were incorrectly calculated.

After issuing of summons against the production company for R20m, the company filed a special plea alleging that Du Toit’s claim stood to be directed at the RAF, rather than Farm Film Productions. Following this, Du Toit sued the RAF in his action for damages. The fund, however, noted an exception to the claim.

The grounds that underpin the exception are that Du Toit’s amended particulars of claim lack averments necessary to sustain a cause of action under the RAF Act.

The fund argued that Du Toit did not claim that he was driving a vehicle for the purposes of the act, on a road contemplated by the act, and in a motor vehicle for the purposes of the act. Instead, he drove a specially modified vehicle for a television commercial.

Counsel for the RAF argued that a permit was obtained by Farm Film Productions from the City of Cape

Town, granted in terms of the City’s Filming By-Law, to execute the stunt. Thus, the road was closed off at the time to normal traffic.

The court was told Du Toit was not driving a vehicle as contemplated by the act, as the vehicle was specially modified for purposes of performing an inherently dangerous activity.

Counsel for Du Toit, on the other hand, argued that it cannot be contested that Long and Leeuwen streets in Cape Town are roads and they do not cease to be such just because they are closed to all but certain vehicles during the film shoot.

Acting Judge NE Ralarala said that the ice cream truck was clearly a stunt vehicle designed for ramping and jumping. Du Toit was a stunt driver, in an enclosed film set or location. It cannot, therefore, be argued that at the time he was driving a motor vehicle for the purposes of the act.

The judge found that the claim lacked averments necessary to sustain a cause of action against the RAF.





African News Agency