Mpumalanga’s Operation Gijima Tsotsi, which seeks to address the scourge of cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, bank robberies as well as ATM bombings, is making inroads.
The operation, which is led by a senior police officer and comprises different units within the SAPS, like the Detective Services, Hawks, Crime Intelligence, Tactical Response Team as well as the Flying Squad, have arrested a total of 28 suspects so far.
About eight firearms, including five AK 47s, two rifles and a 9mm pistol were recovered, since the launch of the operation in April 2018.
The police further recovered seven luxury vehicles which are believed to have been used during the commission of crimes, provincial SAPS said on Tuesday.
The suspects were arrested for different violent crimes, including murder, CIT heists, possession of explosives, bank robberies, ATM bombings, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of suspected stolen motor vehicles, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit crime, kidnapping and assault of a Traffic Officer, theft of explosives, theft of cash as well as other related crimes.
The arrested suspects have already appeared before different Magistrates’ Courts in the province with some remanded in custody, with bail applications being processed, while some are out on bail with tight conditions.
Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma said the province saw fit to devise a strategy to deal with the scourge of these crimes which are rearing their ugly head.
CIT heists and other related crimes are occurring in almost all parts of the province and the perpetrators thereof are daring and always dangerously armed, which is a clear signal that they are ready to kill, he said.
“Therefore, it is important for the community to work closely with the police by not confronting such villainous characters but to report them to the police who are mandated and capacitated to arrest criminals.’’
Zuma welcomed the arrests but alluded that more still needs to be done.
He requested community members to be patriotic to the course of justice so that these heartless individuals can be rooted out of society.
“Without working as a collective, we will not be able to deal these daring and barbaric gangs a bitter blow. I have dedicated this special team to deal with the damage already caused, as well as put plans in place to proactively monitor activities of these criminals,” said Zuma.
Meanwhile, a swift action by a multidisciplinary team led by the Hawks has resulted in the arrest of 7 suspects following a CIT robbery in Polokwane on Monday.
During the operation members recovered two stolen vehicles with false registration plates, ammunition, cartridges, money bags and explosives.
All suspects are to appear before Polokwane Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
According to the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), cash-in-transit heists have spiralled out of control, with a heist recorded at least once a day on average.
The Portfolio Committee on Police will have a special hearing on the recent spate of cash-in-transit heists on Wednesday. The hearing will also be attended by major private security companies, Business against Crime, Sabric, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority and the Private Security Association, who will ensure that coordination and cooperation are increased to deal with this crime trend. - SAnews.gov.za