Police in Gauteng have vowed to intensify weekend operations aimed at reducing the levels of crime and enforcing lockdown regulations in the province.
This comes after operations over the weekend saw the arrest of more than 960 suspects. Among them were 85 suspects arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
In a statement, Gauteng SAPS said Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela and Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, at the weekend led Operation O Kae Molao in Hammanskraal and Temba in Tshwane.
Provincial SAPS spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo, said more than 300 suspects were arrested for crimes ranging from the Contravention of Disaster Management Act, car hijacking, attempted murder, robbery, dealing in liquor without licence, driving while under the influence of alcohol and malicious damage to property.
Meanwhile, 259 were nabbed by the police in Ekurhuleni District for crimes such as theft, murder, possession of drugs, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of suspected stolen goods and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Police in the West Rand and Johannesburg Districts arrested 240 suspects for crimes ranging from murder, possession of drugs, Contravention of Disaster Management Act, fraud, possession of unlicensed firearm and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
More than 167 suspects were arrested in the Sedibeng District for crimes that include rape, murder, and possession of suspected stolen goods, contempt of court, house breaking and theft.
All arrested suspects will appear before the different Magistrates’ Courts in Gauteng in due course.
Police have warned those who continue to contravene the Disaster Management Act, that the law will deal with them decisively.
“Police in Gauteng will continue to enforce the level one lockdown regulations, while balancing it with crime combating,” said Masondo.
Meanwhile, Mawela has welcomed the recovery of 78 unlicensed firearms of varying calibre and 102 rounds of ammunition in the province last week.
Masondo said the firearms were recovered as a result of police initiated operations such as stop and searches, crime combating, suspects tracing and also following up on tip-offs from the community.
“Four unlicensed firearms were recovered and four suspects arrested after police foiled an armed robbery in Cosmo City, Honeydew - Johannesburg on Thursday 30 September 2021.
“Police received information about suspects that were planning to rob a chain store in Cosmo City. Information was operationalised and police from the Honeydew Reaction Team spotted the vehicle that matched the description given. They pounced on the vehicle and found two suspects with two firearms.
“Police proceeded to a safe house and two more suspects were arrested after they were found with two unlicensed firearms.”
On Friday, police recovered three firearms as they were pursuing a suspect believed to be behind the killing of people in Bekkersdal and West Rand recently. Information was received about the whereabouts of the suspect.
“A search operation consisting of members from Crime Intelligence, West Rand K9 and Highway Patrol Unit was launched and they proceeded to Leratong Taxi Rank in Kagiso where the suspect was located. When the suspect saw the police he started running away towards the open veld and police gave chase. The suspect fired shots towards the police whilst running. He dropped the firearm on the ground and proceeded running into the river. Police went to search his premises and found two more unlicensed firearms.”
In Kameeldrift, in Tshwane, Police on Thursday arrested four suspects who were found in possession of three unlicensed firearms, a vehicle reported to be hijacked and a vehicle taken from a house robbery.
Masondo said through police's crime Intelligence, information was received about a gang that is involved in vehicle hijackings and house robberies in Pretoria area.
“A team consisting of Highway Patrol, Tracker Connect and the Hawks launched an operation to search for the suspects. The suspect's vehicle, a Mazda CX-5 with four suspects was stopped in Kameeldrift. Upon searching the car and occupants, police found three unlicensed firearms.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the car was reportedly hijacked. Further investigation led the police to Pretoria, where police found a Chev Cruze that was taken during a house robbery in Pretoria. All four suspects were arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of hijacked vehicles and possession of stolen vehicle.”
The firearms have been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes.
Mawela expressed delight at how police dealt with the proliferation of illegal firearms in the province.
"These are the firearms that are used to commit serious and violent crimes in our province and I am happy that our members are working hard to recover them. I believe that we have saved the lives of innocent people that would have been killed by criminals using these firearms. Ballistic tests results will help us link these suspects to other crimes committed in our province.” – SAnews.gov.za