Police in a scramble to deal decisively with crime and criminals in run-up to festive season

Published Oct 11, 2023

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Criminal experts say crime is startlingly high at the moment and historically an increase has been seen in certain crimes going into the festive season.

Chad Thomas, organised and financial crime investigator from IRS Forensic Investigations, said SAPS had many crime battles on many fronts and its resources were stretched very thin.

Thomas said the police had to contend with violent zama zamas, as well as armed cash-in-transit gangs, and an array of other well-equipped crime syndicates.

Over the weekend in Gauteng, two violent CIT heists occurred but the one that set tongues wagging happened on the N12 in the south of Joburg, where brazen criminals hijacked over four cars and their crime took about 30 minutes.

The gang, captured by civilians using cellphones, were armed to the teeth.

This left SAPS and the Gauteng premier concerned.

“It would not be a ‘cop-out’ for SAPS to acknowledge these challenges and formalise partnerships with the private security sector to assist in what is referred to as force multipliers,” said Thomas.

He added: “Although also suffering from budget constraints, SAPS should call upon the SANDF to assist with cordon and search operations. Provincial, metropolitan and municipal law-enforcement should also be included in a temporary ‘one force’ strategy so as to increase the numbers of first responders to serious incidents and increase visible policing patrols.”

According to reports, SAPS lost 700 firearms in the last financial year.

National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola said police throughout all corners of the country were ready to tackle all forms of criminality on the run-up to the busy festive season.

The SAPS festive season operations will be rolled out this Friday.

Masemola said through well-coordinated intelligence-driven operations, the police would continue to deal decisively with criminals and take down many.

He said through Operation Shanela, police continued to dislodge and disrupt activities of organised crime syndicates linked to serious and violent crimes especially aggravated armed robberies such as CIT heists.

“We are ushering in the festive season and we are prepared to deal decisively with crime and criminals in all forms and shape,” said Masemola.

In the past week, police said a total of 1133 suspects were arrested through high density operations.

In the province, two rifles and ammunition linked to the N12 Mondeor CIT heist that took place on Saturday, were seized in a backroom in Mapetla, Soweto.

Police continue to trace those behind this brazen attack.

Four suspects linked to a recent CIT heist that occurred in Kaalfontein, Ekurhuleni, were traced and arrested in Tembisa. In their possession, police found a Mercedes Benz alleged to have been used as a getaway vehicle, dye-stained money, explosives and an AK- 47 assault rifle.

A total of 945 suspects were arrested in the Eastern Cape in the past week.

In Sutterheim, R1 million worth of unregistered medicines were confiscated from a truck travelling from Gauteng to East London.

Other confiscations/seizures include: 313 rounds of ammunition, 128 dangerous weapons (knives etc), 21 illegal and unwanted firearms and one home-made firearm.

A total of 887 suspects were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal.

In Durban, four CIT suspects were shot and killed during a confrontation with police at a home used as a safe haven for the syndicate in KwaMashu on October 7.

In their possession, police found four firearms including an AK47, explosives and false vehicle number plates.

A total of 839 suspects were arrested this past week in Free State, the SAPS Interpol National Crime Bureau working closely with SAPS assisted in repatriating the body of murdered Heilbron Magistrate Mamello Shareen Makotoane.

The body was repatriated and handed over to the family and Free State Pathology Services. The process to extradite the husband to South Africa is under way.

About 708 suspects were arrested for various crimes in Limpopo.

In Polokwane, 38-year-old Lewis Magoro was rearrested following his escape from the SAPS Hlogotlou holding cells on May 4.

The suspect was re-arrested in Motetema on October 7 following a shoot-out with police. One firearm was recovered.

In North West, 569 suspects were arrested, in Mpumalanga, 565 and the Northern Cape, 264 suspects while in the Western Cape, about 2915 suspects were arrested.

Masemola said police remained on course to sniff out more syndicates.

He said police would not negotiate with criminals in the run-up to the busy festive season.

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