Minister of Police Bheki Cele. File Photo: Bongani Shilulbane/ ANA

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday he will soon be heading to Malawi to retrieve South African vehicles stolen and smuggled across the border.

''At least 22,000 cars are stolen in South Africa every year, and most of them are taken over our borders to neighbouring countries. Malawi has 300 of these vehicles, many of the cars are stolen from Gauteng,'' Cele told reporters at a briefing at Tembisa police station in Ekurhuleni.

Cele said he has been in Mozambique recently, and witnessed stolen luxury vehicles with Gauteng registration numbers still on them driven around in Maputo.

''They do not even change the number plates there...I wont tell you who drives them, but I can tell you that a lot of the stolen Gauteng cars are being driven freely in the streets of Maputo with no problem. I will be meeting with authorities there soon to attend to this issue.''

On cash-in-transit heists, he said police were intensifying operations because heist gangs were now leaving Gauteng to other provinces such as Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga,. This was as a result of Gauteng being watched with a hawk's eye to combat heists, said Cele.

Forty two cash-in-transit heist suspects have been arrested since June.

''Fifty nine firearms were confiscated, 47 explosive devices and 152 rounds of ammunition as well as millions of rands have been seized. The biggest cash haul was at Mthatha [Eastern Cape], where police recovered stacks of cash running into million, packed and hidden.''

Cele added that police had so far arrested four of the 15 most wanted criminals in the country.

Cele was accompanied by national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, mayors of the three metros in Gauteng, Herman Mashaba, Mzwandile Masina and Solly Msimanga, as he briefed media on progress made regarding robbery investigations across the country. The briefing was followed by a public meeting at nearby Mehlareng Stadium.

African News Agency (ANA)