Cops ‘won’t let up on cash heists’
POLICE Minister Bheki Cele yesterday said cops would not lose the momentum to fight cash-in-transit heists as they pulled together to keep South Africa safe.
“We will turn things around. South Africans are going to be safe. We have started. We are not going to let the momentum slip,” Cele said.
He made the statements when stakeholders in the cash-in-transit industry appeared before the police portfolio committee yesterday. The meeting, called in the wake of an increase in heists, was aimed at looking into measures to tackle the crime.
Reports presented at the meeting showed there were 152 cash-in-transit heists valued at R114 million this year, which was more than the overall 136 estimated at R61m last year.
There were 81 incidents between April and May, with Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West identified as hot spots, and 25 suspects were arrested.
Yesterday Cele revealed that the police had nabbed 10 suspects in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng on Tuesday. “The police are working hard. We have unleashed everybody on the street, the Special Task Force, the National Intervention Unit, the Tactical Response Unit…”
He also said police had in their last three operations arrested suspects before they had committed crimes. “Even the intelligence is getting there. We have always been responding and reactionary. We move ahead now.”
Cele said the spike in cash-in-transit heists had pushed the police to act and they had bought high-powered vehicles to respond to the crime. “They have real performing cars put on the road for quick response. Most will be unmarked.”
National commissioner Khehla Sitole said they were close to bringing crime under control. He said they had a multidisciplinary strategy which involved the banking sector and other stakeholders.
Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya said they would oppose the granting of bail to heist accused.