Police arrest alleged cash-in-transit robber at Durban gangster's memorial
Durban - A man who let off a volley of bullets at the memorial service of notorious Umlazi gang boss, Sandile “Chillies” Bhengu on Wednesday was arrested by police who later linked him to a number of cash-in-transit heists and robberies in KwaZulu-Natal.
Police said the 43-year-old man was arrested outside Umlazi “L” Community Hall where hundreds of people had gathered for a memorial service for Bhengu who was shot dead by police last week while attempting to steal a car.
He was charged for unlawful discharge of a firearm, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
He was expected to appear in the Umlazi Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
His arrest comes as police beefed up their presence in the south Durban township following social media posts that gang members were gearing to hijack cars and attack police ahead of Bhengu's funeral this weekend.
Police said their high visibility on the streets of Umlazi saw no serious incidents of crime reported on Wednesday.
"The deployment follows after messages on social media that criminals were encouraged to hijack vehicles and attack police due to the recent killing of a gang leader in Umlazi," police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said.
"Police officers are aware of these threats and have taken extra precautions and necessary steps to prevent such incidents from occurring. Umlazi SAPS have deployed a large contingent of police officers to deal with these threats and to make sure that the community is safe. We will continue with our operations until the ‘gang leader’ is buried. We will not tolerate people who want to take the law into their own hands and cause panic in our communities. We also discourage community members from idolising criminals and joining them when they fire shots into the air and “spin” cars as these inadvertently can lead to the death of bystanders," she said.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people packed the local community hall in Umlazi to mourn Bhengu's death. The service was characterised by dancing, loud music and motorbikes being revved to the joy of those gathered.
As the revelry happened inside the hall, SA police and Metro police who were deployed outside kept a close eye on events.