The police are starting to “turn things around” in its bid to combat the high increase in violent cash-in-transit heists which have rocked South Africa in recent weeks, MPs were told today.
Briefing parliament’s portfolio committee on police, police minister Bheki Cele said: “We are going to turn things around and these South Africans are going to be safe, we have started and we are not going to let the momentum go back.”
He told MPs police have managed to make 25 arrests in the recent wave of cash-in-transit heists and were working hard on nabbing the masterminds behinds these crimes.
Cele said 104 high-performing cars have been acquired and were going to be dispatched so police could respond to heists on the road in a speedier manner.
“Most of them will be unmarked and put them on the highway, link them all so that they will all respond simultaneously and we will put the high performing individuals inside those cars. That’s one thing we have done,” he said.
“Cash-in-transit heists are terrorism because last week a principal of a school in Tembisa who was shot and killed in the execution of cash-in-transit heist in Tembisa was buried. He was driving in his car and had nothing to do with the crime and not only him, another young man was shot and injured.”
According to the minister, cash-in-transit robberies were getting out of hand as innocent bystanders were being killed, “something which pushes us more to say that we really have to deal with this case, and then the indication is that all of us need to put a maximum effort to deal with it”.
Cele added police also needed to deal with so-called “feeder crimes”.
“Car hijacking and car theft are feeder crimes to cash heists, the illegal firearm is a feeder crime, the corrupt personnel is a feeder crime in different areas in South African police members, there are some of us who are really corrupt and in the whole chain,” he said.
He reassured MPs that corrupt officers were being dealt with but the “whole chain” was often being forgotten.
“We arrested one of ours in Limpopo, it’s a lady who provided an escape car and is romantically involved with the kingpin in the cash heist. So these are the things that are internal. It looks like in all other groups that were arrested, we had a member of the private security company. This guy was on social media playing with cash and we found him in the house with R1 500 million cash,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)