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Fugitive Caught With Arsenal of Assault Rifles Finally Faces Justice


A Mpumalanga man who disappeared after being arrested last year on weapons charges is back in police custody after months on the run.

Thabo Phistos Mavundla, 37, appeared in the Schoemansdal Regional Court on Monday on five counts of possessing prohibited fully automatic assault rifles, ammunition, and explosives.

Authorities re-captured Mavundla on Friday acting on a warrant stemming from the original March 2022 bust. At that time, he somehow secured pretrial release but then ceased showing up for hearings.

“We are glad to finally have this very dangerous individual back in custody,” said Lt. Noah Mashego of the Hawks investigative unit, which continued tracking the suspect.

Ballistics evidence has now tied Mavundla to an attempted cash-in-transit heist and attack that same month he was initially apprehended. Investigators also linked him to other violent crimes committed using the confiscated rapid-fire combat rifles.

Mashego credited “good old fashioned police work” and especially footwork by tactical response squads for never letting the gun violations case go cold. Mavundla disappeared after being freed on just R1000 bail last spring.

The accused will remain jailed pending a January trial after a judge deemed him an obvious flight risk given past events. Authorities also expressed concern about the arsenal of weapons and firepower still likely connected to him on the streets through criminal associates.

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