The scene of a recent cash-in-transit robbery on Jakes Gerwel Drive in Cape Town. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Police have arrested 40 people linked to the spate of cash-in-transit heists in South Africa in the past 30 days.

"More than 40 suspects involved in these crime categories have been arrested since the implementation of a nationwide stabilisation operation on the 4th of June 2018," police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement on Friday.

"Four of these suspects rank among the top 20 of identified suspects wanted for similar crimes. A substantial amount of money, as well as arms and ammunition, were confiscated."

Naidoo said there have been at least five attempted robberies on cash-in-transit vehicles in the past week. 

These included an attempted robbery that happened along the N8 highway in the Free State. Two cash vehicles, one travelling on the N8 highway from Thaba Nchu and the other from Botshabelo to Bloemfontein were attacked by a group of armed men, who shot and wounded both drivers. 

Another attempted robbery took place in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape where one of the alleged suspects was shot and killed during a shootout with police and a security guard was injured. No money was stolen at both Free State and Eastern Cape incidents after the alleged robbers failed to access the cash despite attempts to bomb the vehicles.

At Atlas Road in Boksburg, Gauteng, one suspect was killed and a guard injured during a botched heist on Thursday. The others managed to get away empty handed. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele attends the launch of a new anti-corruption strategy.
Police Minister Bheki Cele attends the launch of a new anti-corruption strategy at SAPS academy in Pretoria West. FILE PHOTO: Bongani Shilulbane/ African News Agency (ANA)

In Dobsonville, Soweto, six people were arrested after they allegedly attacked security guards who were loading cash into an ATM. One of the guards was injured.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police will not rest until they win the war on criminals.

"We are serious about turning the tide.... we will not rest until we win the war on criminals.  The number of arrests is a sign of our commitment to the constitutional mandate to uphold and enforce the law, on the scourge of cash in transit robberies that continue to terrorize our people. Nothing must divert or distract our men in blue from creating a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa and ensure criminals are brought to justice," he said. 

African News Agency/ANA