Airport gang cases in court

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Johannesburg - Two people allegedly linked to robberies of travellers followed from OR Tambo International Airport are due to appear in different courts in Johannesburg on Wednesday, police said.

They are among 18 people arrested since last year for allegedly following people from the airport and then robbing them of valuables, said Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale.

Lentswe Madube is due to appear in the Germiston Magistrate's Court after allegedly being linked to six different armed robbery cases.

He was arrested in January and has appeared in court a few times.

“The purpose for today (Wednesday) is to set a trial date,” said Makgale.

He had allegedly been linked to armed robberies in Kempton Park, Bedfordview, and Sandton.

Meanwhile, Patricia Mehlomakhulu was due to appear for a bail application in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court for three different armed robbery cases in Sandton.

“We will be vigorously opposing bail,” said Makgale.

She was arrested on May 18 and was believed to be one of the masterminds of the airport gang operation, said Makgale.

“The allegation is that she rents vehicles and that they would then be used in the robberies.

“She goes to the airport, she rents vehicles, targets certain individuals carrying valuables, then allegedly robs them on their way to a hotel or when they get to the hotel.”

Makgale said the 18 arrests were made following the formation of the National Investigating Unit (NIU) last year.

The NIU consisted of retired detectives roped in to help solve the “airport gang” crimes which started in 2012. The unit had also identified another 11 people but they were still at large.

When the NIU was started, 249 dockets were given to them and in September they were handed an additional 23 dockets.

Makgale said since their formation, crimes relating to travellers had dropped. - Sapa

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