Pretoria -- Police Minister Bheki Cele has saluted police officers who fatally shot nine alleged cash-in-transit robbers at a house in Sebokeng, Gauteng, on Thursday morning.
The other suspects, members of the group, sustained gunshot wounds and have been arrested.
Cele also appreciated community members who raised the alarm on the “suspicious” activities, which were taking place at the premises, before police raided the house.
“We also want to thank the community, because our information came from you, the community, which said there is funny movement here and there were people you did not understand that kept moving here.
“We believe that these guys have been hitting us for the last three weeks and they were getting ready to go for another cash heist. So it is important that we continue to work together. When you see the funny kind of movement, you tell us and we (will) respond without telling anybody who told us the story, and the results will be like this.”
In an update, national spokesperson for the SAPS, Brig Athlenda Mathe, said the number of the deceased had risen to nine, after one more suspect succumbed to the injuries.
“The number of cash-in-transit (CIT) suspects killed during a shootout with Gauteng police in Sebokeng has risen to nine, while three others are receiving medical treatment under police guard in hospital.
“Members of the SAPS Tactical Response Team were following up on crime intelligence-driven information relating to suspects who were on their way to commit a CIT robbery, this morning after 6am,” said Mathe.
She said the suspects were traced to an identified address in Sebokeng, where a shoot-out ensued between the armed suspects and the police.
“A total of eight suspects were certified dead at the scene while the ninth suspect died in hospital. Three others were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
“Six rifles, six commercial explosives that were already assembled and ready to be detonated as well as four vehicles have been seized,” said Mathe.
“Members of the Explosives Unit have rendered the recovered explosives ‘safe’ in the interest of the community.”
Police believe the group of men was behind a spate of cash-in-transit heists in Gauteng and surrounding areas.
Last year, another group of three, alleged robbers was shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with police and private security at Sandton.
At the time, Gauteng police spokesperson, Lt-Col Mavela Masondo said a fourth suspect surrendered and was arrested.
“Members from crime intelligence have been following information about suspects that are committing hijackings and armed robberies in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, at times using vehicles fitted with blue lights,” he said.
“Information was given to a team consisting of the Gauteng highway patrol unit, Gauteng Traffic Police saturation unit, Tracker Connect, Badboyz Security and Vision Tactical.
“While on the lookout, the law enforcement team spotted a Ford Figo hatchback with four occupants travelling in Bramley.
“Members attempted to stop the vehicle but the suspects responded by shooting at the members while speeding off. A shootout and a high-speed chase ensued. While at Marlboro Drive, the suspects’ car lost control and crashed into the wall,” said Masondo.