UPDATE: Police investigating transformer theft

08 August 2017  Read: 764


New information has come to light in the case of 37-year old former scrap-metal merchant, Zelma Snyman. She was arrested on charges of possession of stolen property two weeks ago when the bakkie she was driving, allegedly crashed through a farm’s fence in Tarentaalrand.

Snyman told Bulletin that she was returning to Tzaneen after collecting the transformer from what she believed to be a “government-owned” farm. According to her she was contacted to collect a transformer on the property by a man claiming to be the owner of the farm. She stated that after the accident, the man ran away from the scene and this added to the suspicion that the transformer was stolen.

A farm manager from a neighbouring property gave Bulletin his account of what happened on the night in question. “At around 02:00 on Monday morning my security guard alerted me of the accident and I went to the scene to investigate. I saw that a vehicle had left the road and went to check if any-one was injured. I asked the lady what happened and she told me that she was returning from Phalaborwa when she lost control of the vehicle. I found it rather strange because of the direction in which the vehicle was facing.”

When the man asked Snyman about the transformer, she allegedly told him that she bought the transformer in Phalaborwa earlier that day. He asked her why she would be traveling with the transformer at 02:00 in the morning and she replied that she purchased it earlier but left Phalaborwa later to return home to Tzaneen.

Another witness told us that four men were allegedly in the vehicle with her at the time of the crash and that all four had fled. Police confirmed that they are searching for two other suspects whom are thought to have been accomplices in the theft.

According to the second witness, a well-known local man and a female friend, whom he introduced as his wife, arrived on the scene a short while later to help Snyman, a friend of theirs. The witness reported that the man allegedly said he would return to Tzaneen to fetch a trailer to load the transformer and transport it to Tzaneen. A tow-truck company arrived on the scene and attempted to remove the transformer with a winch, but failed.

The GTM has, in the meantime, removed the transformer, valued at R100 000, and placed it at their offices for safe keeping until the matter is resolved.

Snyman appeared in court on the 24th of July and was released on bail of R5 000. She will appear in the Tzaneen Magistrate’s court again on 29th of August, pending further police investigations.



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