Pretoria - Police in Gauteng arrested more than 1 700 suspects and recovered at least 65 unlicensed firearms as the law enforcement agents unleashed crime-fighting operations and routine police stop and searches across the populous province over the long weekend.
“The perpetrators were found to have committed serious and violent crimes such as murder, attempted murder, robbery, car hijacking, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, rape, fraud and theft. Diligent and intelligent police observation during routine patrols led to the discovery of most firearms,” said Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo.
Police believe the firearms were used during the commission of serious and violent crimes in Gauteng.
“Four-hundred and fifty-three arrests were effected in the Johannesburg district for offences ranging from malicious damage to property, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of drugs, housebreaking, theft, drunk and driving, possession of stolen and hijacked vehicle, selling liquor without a license and dealing in drugs,” Masondo said.
In the Tshwane District, members of the SAPS arrested at least 450 suspects during the blitz.
“In their quest to fight lawlessness in Tshwane, the police executed multiple crime-prevention operations within Pretoria and its boundaries. On Friday evening, the integrated forces of Operation O Kae Molao flooded the streets of both Atteridgeville and Pretoria West. Their presence was quickly felt as they closed down nine illegal liquor outlets for operating without licenses or permits.”
He said 33 undocumented immigrants were arrested for being in South Africa illegally.
“Eight suspects were arrested for possession of drugs and one suspect was arrested for car hijacking. Two more suspects were arrested for tampering with essential infrastructure in Atteridgeville after they were caught red-handed doing illegal electricity connections with suspected stolen cables,” said Masondo.
In Ekurhuleni, 403 suspects were nabbed for various crimes.
“Amongst the suspects arrested are two males, aged 49 and 33, believed to be the masterminds behind car hijackings in Ekurhuleni North and Daveyton areas. The suspects were nabbed in Tembisa and Clayville in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, 30 April 2023, by members of Ekurhuleni District Crime Intelligence, Trio Task Team, and Tactical Response Team.
“The suspects were linked to one of the car hijacking and murder cases that occurred in Norkempark on Wednesday 26 May 2023, whereby the victim, a CPF patroller, was hijacked of his motor vehicle and killed,” said Masondo.
The suspects were found in possession of a blue light, a flash machine, a Mercedes-Benz key, a Ford key, an unknown make car key and an EMPD warden rank structure.
The vehicle used by the suspects during the commission of the crime was also found in a the suspect's yard and seized.
“Continuous efforts by the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies in the West Rand District had left more than 159 suspects behind bars during the past long weekend.
“Tracing of wanted suspects, roadblocks, stop and searches, patrolling, and checking compliance were part of the operations that were conducted throughout the district from Friday until Monday,” said Masondo.
The 159 suspects were arrested for murder, attempted murder, car hijacking, rape, possession of an unlicensed firearm, dealing in drugs and assault.
“Police in Sedibeng arrested 216 suspects over the long weekend. Suspects were arrested for various crimes that include murder, attempted murder, assault, rape, business robbery, hijackings of motor vehicles, common robbery, house breakings and robberies, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, possession of drugs, driving under the influence of alcohol, and possession of suspected stolen vehicle and stolen goods,” said Masondo.
Police management in Gauteng have expressed appreciation for the community’s involvement in the fight against crime as most of the suspects were arrested through tip-offs and information received from the members of the public.
Masondo said the arrested suspects were due to appear in various magistrates courts across the province.