Wellington Bibi Cenenda, the alleged mastermind and kingpin behind a spate of cash-in-transit heists, has been arrested.
Gauteng Hawks boss Major-General Prince Mokotedi was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying they had identified Cenenda as the kingpin responsible for CIT heists around Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. He told the paper the arrest of the kingpin, aged 38, would “end it all”.
The Times reported Cenenda had slipped away from the police during raids in Tembisa, in Gauteng, and another in a Tzaneen safehouse in Limpopo.
Of the attacks by Cenenda’s gang, the Boksburg heist on Atlas Road earlier this month was one of the more notable ones.
Cenenda was arrested in a crime intelligence-driven operation in Bloemfontein on Thursday, assisted by local tactical response team members, according to a statement by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
He was wanted by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for alleged murder, attempted murder, possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of explosives, and possession of suspected stolen property, eNCA reports.
The SAPS says Cenenda was wanted for a 2016 case where he and his accomplices were involved in a shootout with the police.
“A twelve-member group was conspiring to commit a cash in transit robbery in Mpumalanga. Police received information about a planned cash heist along the Delmas road and a swift operation involving the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the Task Force was planned.”
Cenenda appeared briefly at the Delmas High Court and will be joining his other accomplices on 20 August 2018 whilst in custody.
Further investigations to link him to other cases continue.
The minister of police, Bheki Cele, has hailed the arrest of Cenenda as a major stepping stone in stamping the authority of the law in South Africa.
“We will as the SAPS continue to ensure we put a permanent stop to the scourge of cash in transit crime. It is our responsibility and mission to protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and their property and ensure criminals are brought to justice,” Cele said.
“We are very serious about turning the tide, we will not rest until South Africans feel safe.”