Byline: Refeloe Letsoisa

01 February 2023

The police in Mpumalanga cautioned the public against hitch-hiking as it could place their lives at risk.

This came after two males fell prey to suspects who robbed them of their belongings on Tuesday, 31 January 2023.

The first incident was said to have happened at about 12:15pm when a 41-year-old male was hitch-hiking along Uitkyk Road near Middleburg.

He was given a ride by three men in a white Toyota.

He had no idea that these individuals were going to rob him.

A suspect in the backseat pulled a knife and took him hostage a short time after he entered the car.

The victim was robbed of his belongings which included his phone, credit cards, and undisclosed amount of cash.

He was then coerced to give the pin codes for his bank cards, of which undisclosed amount of money was withdrawn and the suspects fled.

The victim later opened a case of robbery at Middleburg Police Station.

No one has been arrested as yet and police are still in pursuit of the suspects.

On the same day, Tuesday, 31 January 2023, at around 15h00, there was another occurrence that was comparable in Witbank.

A 33-year-old male was allegedly hitch-hiking along Verena Road in Clarinet.

Three male passengers in a VW Golf are reported to have stopped and offered him a lift.

Once he got inside the car, one of the suspects is said to have taken out a revolver and threatened him before searching him and robbing him of his phone and an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspects left with the stolen goods after dropping off the victim.

A robbery case was opened at Witbank SAPS however no one has been arrested as yet but police are continuing to look for the suspects.

Police issue a strong cautionary statement to the public in light of this background and several other occurrences that are comparable.

The police continue to receive occurrences and complaints of individuals being robbed while travelling, while some are sadly raped or even killed as a result of hitching or giving rides to strangers, despite earlier warnings that appear to have gone overlooked.

It is concerning that some other individuals continue to hitch-hike, frequently putting their lives in risk, since they believe it won’t happen to them.

It is alarming that some other people think it may not happen to them and they continue to hitch-hike which often place their lives in danger.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has pleaded with members of the public to avoid hitch-hiking.

“Hitch-hikers and motorists are warned to avoid such practices as this might have serious repercussions.

Nonetheless criminals can use any opportunity that comes their way to satisfy their greed” said the General.