Another body has been found, which brings to 19, the number of alleged cash-in-transit robbers who were killed during a shootout with police units on Friday inside a house in Makhado, Limpopo.
Provincial spokesperson for the Hawks in Limpopo, Lieutenant Colonel Matimba Maluleke, said the body of a man was found as the law enforcement agents continued to comb the scene for clues this weekend.
The National police commissioner General Fannie Masemola visited the scene of the shooting on Friday, and told the media that police had received intelligence of a planned cash-in-transit (CIT) heist.
According to Masemola, police members approached the suspected safe house and that’s when the shootout ensued.
The shooting lasted for about 90 minutes. 18 men were shot dead, and one police officer was seriously injured and was taken to hospital, he said.
“A group of cash-in-transit heist criminals, over time planned this CIT for today, and they are quite integrated. They planned to do a cash heist, and we had intelligence. Our intention was to arrest them before the heist,” he said.
Masemola added that the investigation stems from January and the robbers have been tracked for a few months and among them, there were 16 men and two women. They had bought a lot of firearms, and they had explosives in their possession, he added.
Ten vehicles, including several high-powered performance vehicles and seven automatic rifles, were seized. Various policing experts are still combing the scene.
Masemola said they believe they had broken the back of a syndicate possibly responsible for a number of CIT heists in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
The national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, confirmed that the operation was a culmination of a major investigation that had begun in January.
He said Limpopo and Mpumalanga joined forces in addressing the syndicate that was identified based on several follow-ups that were made by the team.
“So, indeed, we do believe we have the suspects that we have been following. Further investigations will continue to ascertain other crimes that the group may have perpetrated”.