SAPS claim successes in dealing with criminal syndicates

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Police Minister Bheki Cele says the police are pushing back against crime in the country, and flushing out ruthless and greedy organised criminal syndicates.

“The work of the South African Police Service (SAPS) has, through intelligence-led operations and weekly high density operations, resulted in the arrest of thousands of criminals, especially dangerous and hardened criminals,” Cele said at a briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Minister outlined some of the successes achieved by the police in dealing with crime in the country.

He said assets worth millions of rands have been recovered and firearms have been removed off the streets.

“These covert operations have also resulted in multiple deaths of suspects who violently resisted arrest,” Cele said.

Cele said crime intelligence information remains central in the take-down of armed and ruthless gangs.

Cele said in the past week alone, police have registered a number of successes, including the latest take down of cash-in-transit heist suspects in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, where four suspects were killed and three suspects arrested.

“We would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the working relationship with the Hoedspruit Farmwatchers, who worked closely with the SAPS in taking down this syndicate.

“Among those arrested was a most wanted suspect, a Mozambican national, linked to the murder of a police officer, a spate of car hijackings, house and business robberies and fraud cases. Police seized one pistol, a rifle and some of the stolen money,” the Minister said.

Provincial overview

Among the successes achieved by the police include, in Gauteng, a multidisciplinary team led by the Anti-Kidnapping Task Team, rescued an 18-year-old Wits University student from a kidnapping syndicate last Wednesday.

The syndicate had been targeting the LGBTQI+ community through popular dating app Grindr. Police said they have broken the back of this particular kidnapping syndicate, which has so far been linked to over 50 kidnappings, where ransom demands were being made.

In KwaZulu-Natal, following a shooting incident which resulted in the fatal shooting of five men at a parking lot in a shopping centre in Richards Bay on the 19th September 2023, police – 24 hours later – acted on information and traced two suspects to an upmarket estate in Ballito, where a shootout ensued.

The pair were shot and killed during a take-down operation, which involved specialised units of the SAPS, including the National Intervention Unit (NIU).

One of the suspects was on the police’s wanted list and being investigated in a number of cases. One suspect is being sought by the police.

In the Eastern Cape, police arrested a gang that had robbed a store of R1 million worth of jewellery.

Just hours later, police followed up on information and tracked down and arrested all 10 suspects, following a crime intelligence-driven operation. All the stolen jewellery was recovered, as well as four firearms. The syndicate is linked to numerous other similar heists across the country.

In Carolina, Mpumalanga, the illicit mining task team shutdown an illegally operated coal mine and seized mining equipment worth over R60 million, as well as coal worth R12 million.

A mine manager was arrested and a manhunt is underway for the mine owner.

In Khutsong, Gauteng province, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) – under Operation Gillette – arrested nine suspects for illegal mining and they attached, through a preservation order, 58 properties (51 vehicles, including luxury vehicles and seven houses) to the value of over R17 million. They will be appearing in court on 29 September 2023.

In the Northern Cape, 867 illegal miners were arrested during an intelligence driven operation in the Namakwa region on Tuesday, 19 September 2023. The area, which is a hotspot for illegal mining activities, is being closely monitored, and police say they are working closely with other relevant departments to combat illegal mining activities.