Pretoria – 2 July 2015: The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Riah Phiyega, has approved the establishment of an intelligence-driven, undercover operation to intensify the fight against the hijacking of cigarette trucks in Gauteng and other affected provinces.

A multi-disciplinary operational approach to address the threat of armed robberies of vehicles transporting cigarettes, as well as robberies at depots, has led to the arrest of many suspects nationally and the recovery of stolen/robbed property.

Intelligence collected by all stakeholders (police, sources, British American Tobacco and security companies) was utilized to provide early warning in support of pro-active interventions. It was also utilized to provide tactical and operational products. A Task Team was established, consisting of investigators and intelligence operatives, within the Gauteng area.

To support this, a national undercover intelligence driven operation was registered to address the threat. The strategy within the multi-disciplinary approach has three phases namely:

Short term:

Ongoing tactical intelligence-led disruptive operations targeting station and cluster level stubborn crime threats and wanted suspects.

Medium term:

Addressing high flyers, repeat offenders, cluster level criminal networks and organised criminal groups.

Long term:

Addressing national, trans-national organised criminal syndicates.

Since the inception of these initiatives the following has been achieved nationally:

Province Cases Reported Arrested Suspects
Gauteng 44 59
KZN 62 64
Western Cape 141 154
Eastern Cape 37 43
Limpopo 40 39
Total 324 359

A total of 324 cases were opened against the total of 359 suspects arrested. These cases date back to 2013.

The cases that were opened against the arrested suspects included:

  • Armed robberies
  • Car-jacking
  • Hi-jacking of trucks
  • Attempted murder
  • Murder
  • Possession of stolen property
  • Possession of unlicensed firearms

As per the spread sheet the following provinces are the most affected:

  • Western Cape
  • KZN
  • Gauteng
  • Limpopo
  • Eastern Cape.

Status of the cases

Status Total Suspects link Total Cases
Arrested 3 1
Bail Application Pending 6 1
Bail granted 74 29
In Custody 114 46
Pending DPP decision 1 1
Re-arrested while on bail 1 1
Temporary withdrawn 6 3
Unknown/ No information 154 242
Total 359 324

Since the establishment of the Gauteng task team the following has been achieved:

The task team seized the following and were able to secure the following convictions:


  • 34 Vehicles seized
  • 20 Firearms recovered
  • R 151,000.00 seized
  • ± 8417 cartons of cigarettes recovered


  • Alexandra CAS 856/05/2014 – Stembisa Ximba – 18 years imprisonment
  • Dobsonville CAS 70/07/2014 – Spamandla Nkosi – 7 years imprisonment
  • Randburg CAS 147/01/2014 – 1) Duncan Hlatswayo, 2) Sibonelo Shazi, 3) Kathlego Keith Malatsi – 5 years imprisonment


Based on the above it is clear that there are various interventions and initiatives by the South African Police Service to address the threat of robberies of vehicles transporting cigarettes as well as depots. The initiatives are primarily focused on pro-active and preventative actions to reduce the occurrence of the threat. Pro-active intelligence products are also provided to guide resource deployment within identified hotspot areas.

The initiatives are also focused on identifying the market and the end user as these are regarded as enabling factors which lead to the increase in the occurrence of the threat.