Police on Tuesday said they surprised an armed gang during a break-in at the offices at the Thembisile Hani Licensing Authority in KwaMahlanga, resulting in a deadly shootout that left a robber dead, another injured and nine others behind bars.
Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said police responded to information they received that there was a break-in in progress. They swooped on the premises in the early hours of the morning.
“At approximately 01:30 am yesterday, members from the SAPS [South African Police Service] National Intervention Unit responded to information of a gang breaking into offices at the Thembisile Hani Licensing Authority [the traffic department] in KwaMahlanga,” said Naidoo.
“They found a group of men exiting the building, which they had allegedly just broken into. They had forced open a safe by grinding the door.
“In trying to evade arrest, the suspects began shooting at the SAPS members, who returned fire. One suspect was fatally wounded, and another was wounded and taken to hospital under police guard. Nine others between the ages of 32 and 46 years of age, were subsequently arrested.”
The police recovered three 9mm pistols and various implements, such as an electric grinding machine, grinding discs, crowbars and two-way radios.
“A Toyota Conquest, a Mitsubishi Colt bakkie and a VW Citi Golf believed to have been used by the suspects, have also been seized,” said Naidoo.
The suspects will soon appear in court where they will face charges of attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, housebreaking and theft and malicious damage to property.