Bullets fly after robbery

A police officer was wounded as bullets flew during a high-speed pursuit of five armed robbery suspects along Kommetjie Road on Saturday night.

The five had allegedly robbed a spaza shop in Myeza Road, Masiphumelele, and made off with some cash, a cellphone and airtime, at 8.30pm.

Masiphumelele community leader, Dumsani Nhlapo, witnessed the robbery and told how he had had to duck and dive bullets.

Mr Nhlapo said he and a friend had called the police and had chased after the fleeing robbers who had fired three shots at them.

According to Ocean View police spokesman, Sergeant Leon Fortuin, officers responding to the robbery were shot at as they approached a red Toyota Corolla on the corner of Kommetjie Road and Capri Drive.

What followed was a high-speed chase along Kommetjie Road towards Fish Hoek, with the police officers and the armed robbery suspects trading gunfire.

During the chase, a 33-year-old constable was shot in the jaw and the shoulder.

Two police vehicles then trapped the suspects’ car on the Fish Hoek sports fields.

Sergeant Fortuin said three of the suspects, aged 24 to 28, had been caught as they had made a run for it.

Two other suspects got away and are still at large.

Harrington Road resident Liz Samuels said she had heard four gunshots, although her husband had told her at the time that she had imagined them. Later she had read on the Facebook community group, Our Fish Hoek, about the shootout.

The injured constable was treated at the scene, then taken to hospital in a critical but stable condition. Police recovered a 9mm pistol as well as 9mm and .38 Special bullets.

The three suspects face charges of attempted murder and armed robbery. They appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday August 20. They were denied bail.

Fish Hoek Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Andre Blom said the valley had seen an increase in violent crime.

The incident was a big “wake-up call”, and he urged residents to join their neighbourhood watches.

Mr Nhlapo said there were business robberies in Masiphumelele almost daily but few were reported to the police.

There had been at least seven robberies in the past week, of which only one had been reported to the police, and that had been by him.

Sergeant Fortuin confirmed there had been two business robberies in Masiphumelele in one day last month.

On Tuesday July 23, the Wetlands spaza shop was robbed of R1000 and the owner’s cellphone was taken. Later that day, two men robbed a cigarette delivery vehicle of 31 cases of cigarettes to the value of R71 000.

No arrests have been made so far.

According to mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, there are no CCTV cameras in Fish Hoek, Masiphumelele and Simon’s Town, as the Metro police strategic surveillance unit can’t relay a signal to its control centres on the other side of Ou Kaapseweg.

However, Mr Smit said, there were plans to open a CCTV control centre in Ocean View so neighbourhood watches could monitor cameras there. Cameras could then be installed in Masiphumelele with the signals relayed to Ocean View.

But Mr Nhlapo is not convinced CCTV cameras are the solution.

Many of the shops that had been robbed had cameras and they hadn’t stopped the criminals, he said.