Police Minister Bheki Cele encouraged new police recruits to be upstanding officers in their communities and to continue the fight against gender-based violence. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Police have launched a manhunt for a group of at least three armed men who stormed a holiday house in Phalaborwa and allegedly robbed tourists on Thursday night. 

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said he was calling for a massive mobilisation to track down the suspects that attacked and robbed tourists in Phalaborwa on Thursday night. 

Police said the suspects held nine foreign tourists at gunpoint and robbed them of valuables which included a laptop, 10 cellphones, jewellery and over R5 000 in cash.

“The suspects fled the scene using the victims rented Mercedes Benz ML which was later found  abandoned in bushes next to Siloque main road, about 10km from the scene. 

“The police in Phalaborwa have launched a massive manhunt following the house robbery,” said national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo.

Police in Limpopo have activated a 72-hour activation plan which comprises a team of investigators who have been tasked with arresting the suspects.

The police said a memorandum signed in December calls on police to act decisively with crime against tourists, both foriegn and domestic. 

"Among the pledges made was increased police visibility in hotspot areas as well as to train the existing Tourist Monitors as police reservists which will help serve as a force multiplier at tourist destinations,” said General Khehla John Sitole.

“We therefore want to make an earnest appeal to the South African society to mobilise against criminals committing these heinous deeds,” said Sitole.