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Johannesburg - The arrest of three truck hijackers, three illegal dental surgery practitioners, three police officers, and the seizure of 14 unlicensed firearms are among police success over the weekend, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Gauteng said on Sunday.

The arrested suspects were due to appear in the Brakpan, Randfontein, and Springs magistrates' courts on Monday.

The hijackers were arrested in Brakpan following the hijacking of a truck from Cape Town on the N1 near Diepkloof by an unknown number of suspects using a vehicle fitted with a blue light, Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said.

"The [truck] driver was blindfolded and taken to a warehouse in Brakpan. With an intervention of a [SAPS] task team, the suspects were arrested before stock worth more than R300 000 was off-loaded. Three suspects were arrested at the scene, while two others managed to escape and police are looking for them."

In another incident in Springs, police and health department officials closed an illegal dental surgery, arresting three foreign nationals in the process. Several items, including fake dental practitioner’s certificate and other equipment used at the surgery were seized.

The owner of the surgery, also suspected to be a foreign national, was not at the scene and police were still looking for him. The three arrested suspects would appear in the Springs Magistrates' Court on Monday on charges of fraud and contravention of the health professionals legislation.

A SAPS constable would likely be charged with perjury after he had reported a case of attempted murder while he was allegedly wounded in the leg during a scuffle with a victim of a hijacking, Dlamini said. 

Initially, he claimed he had been shot when suspects tried to hijack him. Later, he was identified at the hospital as one of the suspects who had hijacked a Toyota minibus in Mamelodi. He was arrested at the Pholosong Hospital where he had booked himself in for treatment. He was off-duty at the time of the incident.  

Two other policemen from Randfontein were arrested for theft of cement and assault of a security guard at the Affri-Village business premises. It was alleged that they entered the business premises while they were on duty.

Inside the premises, they allegedly stole a bag of cement. A security guard who confronted them at the gate was allegedly assaulted. They were due to appear in the Randfontein Magistrates' Court on Monday, Dlamini said.

“No one may escape the long arm of the law and those who are found on the wrong side, including our own members, are likely to face the full might of the law," Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela said.

"Police are now in the festive mood, ready with festive season operations to make it difficult for the criminals who think they will harass members of the community and make money. The tide is surely turning  against them, as I am deploying every available member, including the reservists, throughout the festive season,” Mawela said.

Dlamini said 14 firearms were also seized during weekend operations and stop and search operations by police officers on routine patrols. The arrested suspects would face charges of possession of unlicensed firearms when they appeared in various magistrates' courts, including Johannesburg, Vereeniging, Thembisa, and Heidelberg.

African News Agency/ANA