Cash-in-transit ambush thwarted
The Hawks confirmed on Thursday that two men arrested while allegedly preparing to ambush a cash-in-transit vehicle in Senekal in the Free State are from Mamelodi West in Gauteng.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi named the two as 30-year-old Thulani Stanley Makhaya and 28-year-old Kweza Tabor Mapongwana.
"[They were] remanded in custody until July 31‚" Mulaudzi said‚ following their appearance in court on Wednesday.
The two were arrested moments before they allegedly planned to attack a cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicle on Monday.
“The arrest was carried out by a team that comprised of Crime Intelligence‚ the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks)‚ the Tactical Response Team (TRT) as well as local police members during a crime-intelligence driven operation on the N5 road‚ just outside Senegal where the duo was allegedly waiting to ambush a CIT armoured vehicle‚” said police ministry spokesperson Reneilwe Serero.
“Police seized a VW Polo Vivo‚ two unlicensed pistols and ammunition.”
In another incident which also occurred on Monday‚ in Engcobo near Mthatha‚ two other suspects were arrested hours after they allegedly carried out a heist at around 5:30pm on the R58.
The suspects reportedly opened fire on the cash-carrying van. “The CIT vehicle overturned and suspects used explosives to gain access to money boxes in the vehicle while the security officials were still inside. The suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in a double cab [light duty vehicle] and a sedan which they hijacked at the scene‚” said Serero.
“The driver and the crew of the armoured vehicle were rescued with minor injuries.”
Investigations by a multi-disciplinary team led to the two suspects being traced at 1am on Tuesday in Alice in the Eastern Cape.
“The two suspects were arrested and police recovered a large amount of cash‚ a firearm and two suspected stolen Mercedes Benzs‚” Serero said.
Police minister Bheki Cele applauded the police for their efforts. “We are very serious about stamping the authority of the state and arrests of this nature are indications of our commitment to ensuring we put a permanent stop to this scourge of crimes‚ and to create a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa‚” Cele said.
"I am satisfied‚ particularly with crime intelligence in identifying and bringing suspects to book even before they are able to commit robberies on CIT vehicles‚” he added.