The Hawks have suffered a momentous loss with the death of two members in a confrontation with an armed group of cash in transit robbers on Thursday.
During the gun-battle, three of the gang members were shot dead and four others arrested. The hunt for the remaining suspects has been intensified and the National Commissioner has ordered all police tracing teams must not leave no stone unturned to bring these murderous perpetrators to justice.
It is alleged that on Thursday, the Special Task Force members engaged suspects around Mahikeng who were in three vehicles. The armed gang had shot and forced a cash security can off the road. 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.
During the shootout, Detective Warrant Office Delene Grobelaar (44 ) was fatally shot. The suspects managed to flee and a manhunt ensued in earnest. Later in the day, one suspect was tracked and arrested at a Johannesburg hospital. Immediately thereafter a follow up operation was launched in Coligny where the wanted suspects were confronted at a filling station by Technical Operations Management Section (TOMS) members. The suspects retaliated with AK 47 rifles fatally wounding Detective Sergeant Wynand Herbst (42).
Three suspects were fatally wounded and two seriously injured during the gun battle. Later in the evening a further two suspects were traced to Ventersdorp however they managed to escape.
So far, three AK 47 rifles, two 9mm pistols, a bakkie and a minibus have been 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 organized 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 Lieutenant General Lebeya.
Meanwhile, the National Commissioner has applauded the team for 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.
The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, MP has 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.