Three men, taxi driver Mosa Bhekifa Ngwenyama, 30, a 24-year-old Malawian national, Ali Obi Ebrahim who is a spaza shop cashier and 44-year-old Mfanasibili Lawrence Lubisi have been remanded in custody after they were arrested for a cash-in-transit robbery.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) in Mpumalanga said Lubisi works as a messenger for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural development and is the homeowner at the premises where police seized several items, including two stolen vehicles, a Ford Ranger Wildtrak and a Mercedes-Benz ML350.
The three appeared before the Malelane Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Their case was postponed to Monday next week for a possible bail application.
Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, spokesperson for the Hawks in Mpumalanga said the three were arrested at Schoemansdal on Friday last week during a multi-disciplinary intelligence-driven operation conducted by the different law enforcement teams, including police and private security companies.
“The arrest followed after the armoured vehicle of Fidelity was travelling from Malelane towards Tonga on August 11, 2023 when it was attacked by a group of criminals,” said Sekgotodi.
“Approximately 15 kilometres from the N4, the armoured vehicle was rammed by a C-Class Mercedes-Benz,” she said.
The Fidelity vehicle lost control and it overturned before it was bombed.
Sekgotodi said “an undisclosed amount of money” was stolen in the incident.
Last week, authorities said approximately R8,000 in coins was stolen from the scene.
The money which was stolen during the heist was destined for a business in Tonga.
According to the Hawks, items seized at Lubisi’s house include the two stolen vehicles; a 9mm pistol; a jacket of the SA National Defence Force, an AK47 assault rifle and a bulletproof vest.
The Mercedes-Benz ML was reported stolen at Masoyi in Mpumalanga, in July. The Ford bakkie was reported stolen in Bushbuckridge in May.
Meanwhile, provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Major General Nicholas Gerber has conveyed gratitude to the multi-disciplinary team tasked with preventing and probing cash-in-transit heists across the province.
The team consists of the Hawks provincial task team, crime intelligence members, the national intervention unit, the tactical response team, and private security companies.
“The Hawks are not alone in this fight. We are literary squeezing the space where these suspects are operating.
“We have made serious impact over the past couple of weeks. We will not rest. This is a collaborative effort and the strategy is bearing excellent results in a short space of time,” Gerber said