A ninth man, 33-year-old Mpendulo Absina Hassane is expected to appear before the Malelane Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday in connection with a cash-in-transit robbery which took place in Mpumalanga.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, said Hassane appeared in court on Monday and he was remanded in custody until Wednesday.
Spokesperson for the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Sekgotodi said Hassane is expected to apply for bail.
“Mpendulo Absina Hassane, who was published and circulated as wanted for cash-in-transit robbery, was arrested on Saturday, November 11,” said Sekgotodi.
She said Hassane was arrested during a multi-disciplinary “disruptive operation” comprising the Hawks in Mpumalanga, the National Intervention Unit and the Mbombela-based Crime Intelligence units of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“The arrest followed after the suspect was linked through fingerprints to the Malelane cash-in-transit case, which took place on August 11, at the R570 Malelane Road to Schoemansdal,” she said.
Previously, eight men, including three White River Flying Squad police officers were arrested for the August 11 heist. The three police officers and three other co-accused, have been released on bail.
The nine men, including Hassane, are accused of carrying out the cash-in-transit heist in Malelane, where a Fidelity armoured truck was heavily bombed and R8,000 in coins were stolen.
“During the robbery, two getaway vehicles were used and later recovered at a safehouse in Buffelspruit. The Local Criminal Records Center Nelspruit attended the scene and retrieved fingerprints on the Ford Ranger, which was later linked to Mpendulo Hassane,” said Sekgotodi.
“A warrant of arrest was authorised and (Hassane) was sought for months without success. The suspect was circulated on media platforms on several occasions.”
On Saturday morning, the Hawks said information was received by the law enforcement team regarding Hassane’s whereabouts in KaNyamazane.
“The dedicated team traced him from his hiding place, and the warrant of arrest was executed. This brings the number of accused persons on the Malelane cash-in-transit case to nine,” said Sekgotodi.
The three police officers who are sergeants Collen Suprian Nonyane, Sunday Peace Mashego, and Bhekinkosi Stanley Goddi were arrested after police followed up on information regarding a SAPS Flying Squad vehicle that was transporting illegal firearms on August 17, at Malelane in Mpumalanga.
Sibusiso Musa Vilakazi was also arrested and added to the list of suspects.
Before the arrest of the four, police had arrested three co-accused - 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.
In August, the seven accused men appeared in court.
In October, IOL reported that an eighth man, Zola Martin Mnisi, who was wanted in connection with the August 11 heist, a string of cash-in-transit robberies heists and murders had given up running from the law and handed himself over to police.
Mnisi appeared in the Kabokweni Magistrate’s Court in October on charges of murder and cash-in-transit robbery cases.
The Hawks had circulated Mnisi’s face across the country and alerted members of the public that he was a wanted person.
On August 11, the Hawks said an armoured Fidelity vehicle was travelling from Malelane, towards Tonga when it came under attack from armed assailants.
“Approximately 15 kilometres from the N4, the armoured vehicle was rammed by a C-Class Mercedes-Benz. The armoured vehicle lost control and overturned. It was then bombed, and an undisclosed amount of money was stolen,” said Sekgotodi.
The money was destined for a business operating in Tonga.
After the heist, the Hawks in Mpumalanga said the money stolen from the crime scene was R8,000 in coins.