Cabinet urges communities to report criminals

Thursday, August 13, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Pretoria - Cabinet has called on communities to work with law enforcement agencies by providing information that will lead to the arrest of criminals involved in the recent spate of robberies across Gauteng.

A number of shopping centres in the province have been targeted in the past two weeks. 

The most recent incident was on Tuesday when a gang robbed security guards delivering cash to an ATM at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia. Two security guards were shot and wounded.

The gang of armed men attacked the guards while they were delivering cash to the ATMs in the centre.

A R250 000 reward has been offered by SBV Security Services for information leading to the arrest of the gunmen.

The thugs fled the scene in a white Nissan bakkie in the direction of a nearby informal settlement.

"We call on all communities to work with the authorities by providing information that will lead to the arrest of these criminals," Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday, following an ordinary meeting of cabinet.

"Cabinet is satisfied that the law enforcement agencies are doing all that is necessary to apprehend the perpetrators and will not rest until these bloodthirsty criminals are brought to book." 

Other robberies occurred at Browns Jewellers at the Fourways Mall, the Killarney Mall in Johannesburg, the San Ridge Centre in Midrand, the Pick 'n Pay in Gallo Manor, the Irene Village Mall in Pretoria and at a Pick 'n Pay store, a pharmacy and a bottle store in Bracken City Mall, Alberton.

In the wake of these incidents, the Gauteng Department of Community Safety said on Wednesday police will be given more firepower and more visibility at shopping malls. 

Safety and Security MEC Khabisi Mosunkutu said the South African Police Services (SAPS) has resolved to increase police visibility at the crime hotspots, including shopping malls. 

He said the police will be armed with heavy-calibre automatic weapons that will match and outmatch the firepower of criminals.

"[The police] must make sure they do not allow criminals the split second to aim their weapons at policemen and policewomen. I urge the members in blue to shoot if they feel threatened, and they must not miss.

"They must hit the target and such that when the dust settles, there should be no doubt as to who is in charge," Mr Mosunkutu said in a statement on Wednesday. 

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