Police have managed to foil two cash-in-transit heists in Limpopo and Gauteng.
One suspect was shot dead and seven were arrested during the two separate incidents.
On Tuesday evening, a G4S cash-in-transit van travelling along the R71 between Letsitele and Tarentaal outside Tzaneen, in Limpopo, was attacked by at least 10 men.
According to Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, the group fired shots at the tyres of the van, bringing it to a halt.
Mojapelo said they forced the three guards out at gunpoint and used explosives to blow up the van.
They fled the scene with firearms and an undisclosed amount of money.
Police and army bulletproof vests recovered
Members of the specialised units of the police and private security, assisted by residents, cordoned off the entire area.
Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, spokesperson for National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, said at least five suspects were cornered and a shootout ensued.
One suspect was shot dead, three were critically wounded and a fifth was arrested.
Naidoo said the three wounded suspects were taken to hospital where they are under police guard.
Police recovered a white Mercedes-Benz, a black Audi, two AK-47 rifles, one R4 rifle, one pistol, two police bulletproof vests, two army bulletproof vests, one handheld two-way radio, blue lights and two bags of money.
“We have already established through preliminary investigations how the suspects may have come to be in possession of SAPS vest[s] and this will be followed up accordingly,” Naidoo said.
Police looking for remaining suspects
Some of the suspects are from the areas of Hazyview, Burgersfort and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.
Police are still tracking down the remaining suspects who were involved in the heist.
In the second incident, a cash-in-transit van was attacked on the R511 near Meyerton, southern Gauteng, on Monday.
Members from the police’s special task force and the National Intervention Unit, acting on intelligence, responded and arrested three suspects and recovered a vehicle after the robbery.
No money was taken.
Sitole praised all parties involved in stopping the crimes, particularly members of the community for responding rapidly.
‘Criminals will have no space to manoeuvre’
“I want our response to these two incidents of CIT (cash-in-transit) robberies to serve as a reminder to potential robbers that their chances of success in executing these crimes will be zero.
“We may not have revealed too much detail of our activation plans to effectively deal with this crime scourge, but criminals can rest assured that our plans are there to ensure that they will have absolutely no space to manoeuvre,” Sitole said.
On Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele outlined plans at a media briefing in Pretoria to combat the plague of serious and violent crime, mainly aggravated robberies, that continue to grip the country.
Cele said, as part of the police’s organised crime threat analysis approach, dedicated teams would be set up to track down and arrest wanted suspects in crimes including cash-in-transit heists, hijackings, murders, house robberies, gang violence and related crimes, and taxi violence and related crimes.