Johannesburg - Four robbers were shot dead in a gun battle with the police in Kranskop on Wednesday, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

Colonel Jay Naicker said the four stormed into a business in Greytown in the morning and held up the staff.

They robbed them of personal items before fleeing the scene in a getaway vehicle.

"At 08.30 the suspects were spotted in the Kranskop area. When police attempted to stop the men, they opened fire on police.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspects and police officers. All four suspects sustained fatal injuries and died on the scene," he said.

The stolen items, which included jewellery, wallets and cellphones, were recovered as well as three 9mm pistols.

From The witness in PMB

FOUR men were gunned down by police after they robbed and assaulted employees of an engineering company in Greytown yesterday morning.
The robbers were shot by the Greytown and Kranskop police assisted by the Pietermaritzburg dog unit on the R74 Kranskop main road after they allegedly shot at the police, who had blockaded the road to stop their flight.
According to the police and employees of China Engineering Services, at about 7.15 am, three men entered the premises, pointed a firearm at the staff and demanded money.
An employee, who asked not to be named, said the robbers demanded that the manager and the owner take them to the safe, however, the safe was empty as the company does not keep money on the premises.
“There was no money inside, only documents and when they realised this, they assaulted us.
“The ordeal lasted for about 10 minutes and the whole time I was praying I would survive.”
They then robbed staff of their cellphones, handbags, a chain and a gold watch.
The staffer said after the robbers fled, they called for help and the other workers tried to give chase.
The criminals were spotted and chased by Greytown police, who called for assistance from Krans*kop police. The police cornered the criminals in their getaway car, a Citi Golf with Durban licence plates, on the R74.
A shoot-out ensued, with one suspect shot dead on the road while the other three fled into the surrounding sugarcane fields.
The local police, assisted by the Pietermaritzburg dog unit, chased the suspects and the shooting continued, resulting in the three other suspects also being shot dead.
Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said that the syndicate was behind several other robberies in the area. “But this Christmas they did not get away with it,” she added.
She said the police recovered three unlicensed 9 mm pistols in the suspects’ possession as well as one police 9 mm Z88 pistol, with the serial number removed, and the handbags containing cell phones, cash and jewellery.
Jeevan said among those killed was Msinga Gwala (35), wanted for several other armed robberies in the Greytown and Kranskop areas.
Witness reporter Thobani Ngqulunga, who drove past the scene, said it resembled a massacre.
“There were between four and six police vehicles with police all over the area carrying automatic weapons,” he said.
“Spent rounds of ammunition were all over the road and the bodies of those shot lay on the road.”