Motorists using the R36 road leading to Tzaneen and Hoedspruit were shocked on Friday when they had to change routes after a burning car blocked the road at the Maake Plaza precinct.

This was after a failed attempted cash in transit heist which led the would-be robbers to set their getaway vehicle alight to destroy forensic evidence.

According to a hawker in the vicinity who witnessed the events as they unfolded, the cash in transit vehicle was traveling from Hoedspruit to Tzaneen when it reached the cross at the plaza precinct.

It was at this moment that a vehicle came speeding into the crossing and attempted to hit the cash delivery van. After the truck ducked the accident, it drove to a nearby fuelling station.

“It was just after midday when the drama unfolded in the middle of the road. The small truck that had been missed by the car which could not stop at the crossing, stopped at the nearby fuelling station instead of continuing with their journey. The owner of the provoking vehicle set it alight before he was picked up by another car leaving the burning one in the middle of the road,” said the witness.

The incident occurred a day after the post office at Lenyenye was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money after thieves took the money from the cashiers immediately after it was dropped by the cash in transit delivery truck.

The incident left hundreds of pensioners in the area stranded as they could not access their social grant pay outs. Many resorted to ATM`s to receive their grants.

With the attempted heist taking place far from the nearest police station, the local satellite station at the Maake complex manned by just a few police officers with one vehicle, was not equal to the task. They had to call back up from the traffic department and the police at Lenyenye to manage the situation.

Just two weeks ago a fuelling station at Makhubudung village was robbed of its night earnings, after robbers arrived in the morning and took money from the cashiers at gun point.

Crime in the area is reported to be on the rise with robberies topping the list. A few weeks ago a man was shot in the complex by the police while he fought a police officer when reprimanded for breaking an ATM with a panga.

In another incident a cash depot was robbed of money on the day it was supposed to pay out social grants and most of these incidences occur either in front of, or mere metres from the police station.

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