Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday announced that that 14 people had been arrested in connection with cash-in-transit heists in less than 24 hours. Included in this figure is what is believed to be the second most wanted cash heist kingpin among South Africa's 20 most wanted criminals.
Cele revealed this at a press briefing held by the national press club in Centurion.
The minister, addressing the media, confirmed the arrests had been made barely a day after police foiled a cash-in-transit heist in Tzaneen. One suspect died while three more were arrested following a shootout with police.
"Simply put, we are beginning to turn the corner... you must remember that for six years, crime intelligence didn't have a head, now we have a head. For some time, the Hawks did not have a head, now they do.
"There are issues we have raised with the CIT industry... I'm not going to raise them here. We'll be sitting down and putting down our presentation to them and hearing their presentation."
An adamant Cele again vowed to make South Africa safe and reverse the scourge of cash-in-transit heists, which has seen 159 incidents in the past six months.
Other issues touched on include the revival of structures, inc] luding the anti-corruption as well as crime intelligence, adding that those that worked would be brought back.
Cele's utterances come days after the South African Police Services (SAPS) announced new strategies to deal with aggravated crimes including cash-in-transit heists, murder, house robberies and assault.
This includes the setting up of dedicated teams to track and arrested wanted criminals in these categories as well as the deployment of office-bound officers to the streets to help tackle crime.
The minister was joined by police commissioner Khehla Sitole, new Hawks head Advocate Lt-General Godfrey Lebeya, Federations of Unions South Africa's (FEDUSA) Frank Nxumalo, South African Banking Risk Information Centre's (SABRIC) Kevin Twiname as well as Hlasinyane Motaung from the Motor Transport Workers' Union.