Soldier arrested in Limpopo drove Chief Joint Ops


The soldier arrested in connection with an armed robbery in Limpopo has been identified as the personal driver of SANDF Joint Operations Chief, Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo, and apparently involved in a road rage shooting incident.

Eyewitness News (EWN) reports he is Corporal Jacob Marakalla, awaiting trial on a charge of attempted murder in connection with the road rage incident. The SA National Defence Force (SANDF), according to the news service, condemned Marakalla’s behaviour and has initiated the process for his discharge from the force but “has not explained why he remained on duty”.

He was arrested in Limpopo on Monday this week after a robbery in Limpopo’s Vhembe district. He was allegedly driving a BMW sedan, an official VIP vehicle assigned to the Joint Operations chief, fitted with blue lights and other security features. He was apparently also in possession of two unlicensed firearms at the time of his arrest.

According to EWN, Marakalla shot motorcyclist Carine van Staden in the chest in an apparent road rage incident in Pretoria last year after he collided with the motorbike she and her fiancé were on. After an alteration at a traffic light in Pretoria North, Marakalla exited his vehicle, pressed his service pistol to Van Staden’s chest and fired a single shot. Despite being critically wounded she survived.

Marakalla claimed he was being hijacked and defending himself. He was not arrested at the scene of the shooting, but appeared in court a month later, charged with attempted murder, EWN said.

An official SANDF statement issued earlier this week “strongly condemned” the apparent involvement of a soldier in criminal activity after the Limpopo robbery. It did not name the soldier or give details of his work and the attempted murder charge.