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South Africa’s Transport Minister robbed, bodyguards’ guns stolen

In what has been termed an unprecedented incident, South Africa’s Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga was waylaid by armed robbers who ambushed her convoy, robbed her vehicle’s occupants of their valuables while dispossessing her bodyguards of their guns.

Chikunga was robbed on Monday by gunmen who laid spikes on a highway on the south of Johannesburg.

Chikunga told a parliamentary committee that one of the masked attackers pointed a gun at her head during the ordeal early on Monday.

Department of Transport spokesperson Collen Msibi said the minister was not injured in the incident.

“This incident took place in the early hours of Monday when the minister was enroute to Pretoria, between N3 Vosloorus and Heidelberg,” said Msibi.

“Both the minister and her dedicated SAPS protection team emerged from this incident unharmed and safe.

“Minister Chikunga remains committed to fulfilling her government responsibilities and is deeply grateful for the overwhelming support she has received from her fellow government colleagues and the people of South Africa.”

A police spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe, said a manhunt for the robbers, who got away with personal belongings and two South African Police Service (SAPS) pistols, was now underway.

“A manhunt has since been launched following this unprecedented incident and to bring to book those responsible,” Mathe said.

The robbery brought to the fore the issue of rampant crime in the southern African country.

In the latest annual survey by South Africa’s Department of Statistics, nearly 1.3 million people said they had been victims of property crime, which amounts to almost 3% of the population.

The proliferation of small arms is also a big issue in South Africa. Guns were used in more than 66,000 of the recorded home robberies.