In a strange turn of events, a member of a 10-man gang of robbers escaped death after being shot by an accomplice during a cash-in-transit robbery in Limpopo.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said the heist took place at around 4:40 pm on the Senotlelo-Mokgwaneng main road in Matlelerekeng outside Sekhukhune District on Monday.
“According to reports, a cash-in-transit van was travelling along the Senotlelo-Mokgwaneng road when it was attacked by a group of about ten suspects driving a charcoal VW Jetta 5 and double cab bakkie.
“The heavily armed suspects started to shoot at the cash van. The suspects allegedly forced the security officials out of the van and robbed them of three firearms. The suspects placed explosives into the cash van and took an undisclosed amount of money. During the incident, one of the suspects was accidentally shot by his accomplice and he was assisted by his accomplices and they all fled the scene,” said Ledwaba.
Ledwaba said none of the security officers were harmed during the robbery. Limpopo provincial police Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe said that while police have launched a manhunt for the suspects, there was a concerning trend of cash-in-transit heists in Limpopo recently.
“A task team has already been activated to investigate the cash-in-transit heists that are taking place and bring the culprits to book. This team of members must be relentless in tracking down these dangerous criminals.
“The community must also assist us with valuable information to help in their speedy arrest,” Hadebe said.
The police urged anyone with information about the heist to contact either “Colonel Mahlathini Ngele on 082 573 3645 or the Crime Stop hotline 0860010111. Those who are able to report at the nearest police station are encouraged to do so or use MySAPSApp”.
The Sekhukhune cash-in-transit robbery is the latest in the province. Earlier this month, two armed men robbed a cash-in-transit vehicle, forcing its security guards to hide in bushes in fear of losing their lives. The incident took place along the R33 Marble Hall- Settlers T-junction.
According to the police, the driver of the cash-in-transit vehicle had stopped at a T-junction with a view to turning towards Marble Hall when “a silver grey Fortuner came from the Settlers and stopped in front of the vehicle”.
“Two African males alighted from the vehicle and started shooting at him. He continued driving towards Marble Hall direction but stopped a few meters away because his tyres were damaged from the shooting. He subsequently jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the bushes with his crew.” added Ledwaba.
According to the latest crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele yesterday, cash-in-transit heists have increased, with at least 64 cases reported between January and March this year. The 2022/2023 crime stats show that cash-in-transit robberies increased by 20% compared to the same period last year.
Of these crimes, 35 happened while the vehicles were on the road, 25 took place on the pavements, three in the shopping centres and one while the car was stationary, added Cele during a media briefing in Cape Town.