Gauteng’s most wanted and dangerous man, who escaped four times from lawful custody in six years, was arrested in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, on Thursday, Gauteng police commissioner Perumal Naidoo said.
Naidoo told reporters in Johannesburg that police spotted Thabang Khumalo in a white Fiat Uno with his wife at about 10.20am. He had been on the run for 14 months.
Police followed the vehicle to a garage near Orange Farm where they attempted to stop him.
Khumalo, who was in the passenger seat, allegedly pointed a 9mm pistol at the policemen. The police then fired three shots, wounding Khumalo in the right arm and left lower leg.
Naidoo said police had been following Khumalo for sometime.
”We received information about his whereabouts. For the past two weeks we have been scanning the Vaal Rand looking for Thabang and today we found him.”
Khumalo was found in possession of a firearm with no serial number and 16 rounds of ammunition.
Naidoo said Khumalo’s wife had been taken in for questioning.
”This woman is in a difficult position but after questioning her we will decide whether to charge her or not.”
He said a number of people might be arrested, especially those who harboured Khumalo and helped him escape from lawful custody.
Khumalo’s criminal history started years back when he was arrested for armed robbery and murder. He was released from prison in 1995 after serving five years in jail. He was arrested again in 1997 in Hillbrow on murder and armed robbery charges.
He escaped from the Hillbrow police cells and was rearrested only to escape again at Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court using a firearm.
He was arrested again and detained at Diepkloof holding cells. Khumalo obtained a firearm from a person who visited him, and he shot and killed the station commander, Senior Superintendent Elias Mashau. He then escaped.
He was rearrested later and escaped yet again, along with seven other awaiting-trial prisoners from the Johannesburg High Court in August 2002. Four of the escapees were rearrested soon after the incident.
Naidoo, flanked by the province’s safety and security minister Nomvula Mokonyane, said: ”I want to assure media and community that Khumalo will not escape again.”
He refused to divulge the details of where Khumalo would be kept and where he would be treated for his injuries.
”I will not tell where he will be kept but there will be maximum security. He will be treated for his injuries where he is detained,” he said.
Naidoo also refused to name the court and time of Khumalo’s next appearance.
Naidoo said Khumalo would face charges including murder, escaping from lawful custody, armed robbery, hijacking as well as other charges that have not been formulated.
Naidoo congratulated the police on the arrest.
Mokonyane said members of the public helped the police with information. She called on the public to provide the police with additional information on any charges against Khumalo.
”Everything that happened in the past has been taken into consideration and Khumalo will not escape again.” — Sapa