Cops ‘won’t let up on cash heists’

The Mercury - - NEWS - May­i­bongwe Maqhina

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.

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