The Hawks have launched a manhunt after two of their members were killed in a shootout with a group of alleged cash-in-transit robbers on Thursday.
Special Task Force members confronted the alleged robbers, who were in three vehicles after allegedly shooting at and forcing a security officer off the road in Mahikeng.
“The suspects were confronted as they blew open the van. The suspects retaliated and took off in different directions. In their attempt to escape, two of the vehicles faced off with members from Technical Operations Management Section (TOMS) DPCI.”
Detective Warrant Officer Delene Grobbelaar was killed in the shootout.
Later in the day, one suspect was tracked and arrested at a Johannesburg hospital, while a follow-up operation at a filling station in Coligny resulted in the death of Detective Sergeant Wynand Herbst.
Three suspects were fatally wounded and two seriously injured during the shootout, with two suspects on the run.
Three AK-47 rifles, two 9mm pistols, a bakkie and a minibus were seized.
The National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has conveyed his sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of our beloved members.
“We shall hunt the members of that organised criminal group that attacked the cash-in-transit vehicle and caused the death of our members. We have recently assembled a bigger team under an experienced Brigadier to deal with these matters. Those who have information should provide same to the investigators or the police in general,” said Lebeya.
Meanwhile, the National Commissioner has applauded the team for the successful implementation of the 72-hour activation plan.
“I am satisfied with the speedy response by our members to the brazen robbery and subsequent killing of one of our colleagues yesterday. The search for more suspects is continuing and I have urged our policemen and women to relentlessly continue searching for the remaining suspects, whilst maintaining their own safety,” said General Sitole.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele has also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families and colleagues of the two deceased members.
“The apprehension of the five suspects with three fatally shot and two injured, can only bring cold comfort to those who lived and worked with the slain members. We are however hoping that it will bring some kind of closure to the bereaved families,” the minister lamented.
Minister Cele has also commended the rapid response by members of the Hawks and the Special Task Force, and has urged the tracing and investigating teams to leave no stone unturned in their effort to find the remaining suspects.