Since 2:00am yesterday morning the multidisciplinary team conducted takedown operations in the areas of Port St Johns, Peddie and a farm in Berlin, East London leading to several high profile arrests of criminal syndicates.
Minister Mbalula accompanied police in a top secret take down operations authorised a year ago. Minister Mbalula says criminal syndicates are extremely sophisticated as such he approved a policy driven by intelligence led policing under the ‘Organised Crime Threat Assessment’ (OCTA) to be the main tool against serious crime.
“South Africans can not live side by side with criminal syndicates. SAPS OCTA aims to refocus crime fighting to criminal modus operandi analysis. This is about tracking and dealing a blow to the source of crime – the kingpins, crime financiers and planners,” said Mbalula.
“Criminals are getting extremely sophisticated and police have to be miles ahead of criminals each time and anticipate each move like good chess players – OCTA and intelligence led policing aims to close the space, any space, above or underground. The issue is that “crime will continue to be present if that which makes it thrive is not de-resourced and closed” emphasized Mbalula. “Operation Damage is a strategic police operation, quite and patient, deliberate and watching,” said Mbalula.
Operation Damage is focused at investigation of an organised group that is dealing in drugs (Mandrax, Tik and others).
Operation Damage is an undercover project
The initial persons of interest identified consist of five (5) targets and additional five (5) targets were identified during the process of the investigation.
Targets operate from Cape Town to King Williams Town, East London, Mdantsane, Peddie and Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape Province.
Drugs were initially transported by Buses and Taxis owned by the main target from Cape Town or Gauteng and further distributed to areas mentioned above. However this has since changed wherein they used their own and hired vehicles.
Simultaneous take down were conducted at Mdantsane, Berlin, Peddie and Port Alfred which will culminate to the arrest of thirteen (13) suspects and seizure of various vehicles used as instruments to commit crime.
Project Damage is a multi disciplinary approach lead by crime intelligence and DPCI (HAWKS) arrested 13 persons representing various syndicates. These are part of an ongoing operations of Organized Crime Threat Analysis (OCTA), that target crime syndicates and drug kingpins. This is the new approach by our Police in fighting organized crime.
The South African Police had been hard at work for the months working close with NPA for successful prosecution.
Police today confiscated over 10 000 tablets of mandrax and R250,000 cash at a farm in East London, Eastern Cape. “I must congratulate our Police Men and Women for a job well done, risking their lives for for the sake of our future, our kids.” Mbalula said
A variety of properties that were under suiveilance included a farm with 200 livestock, five houses, a butchery, three luxury cars.
“These criminals have been masquerading as normal and honest business people who own buses, taxis, butcheries and farms. They are respected people of the community while they are destroying the future of our kids. We can’t stand idling while the future of our kids get destroyed. We must stamp the authority of the state. OCTA is aiming at dealing a huge blow at these masquarades” Mbalula added.
“Our mandate is to rid South Africa of corruption and the underworld criminality amongst others, our work is undergoing at times quitely, this includes all matters currently under intense public discourse – there will be action,” Mbalula emphasized. He also said: “Our fight against corruption and organized crime is a quite revolution, it is not going to be televized but it will bite steadly but steadfastly without any fear or favor given – there are no holy cows is these secret projects”
Minister Mbalula calls upon South Africans to continue working with the South African Police Service and to stop purchasing stolen goods.
“We must together ensure a safer South Africa and create a conducive environment for economic growth for the benefit of all South Africans.” Mbalula said.
During Operation Damage, the following were also achieved prior to todays’s take down:
Search and seizure operation: three (3) arrests and seizure of twenty thousand (20 000) mandrax tablets to the value of R500 000-00
Section 252A based purchases were conducted by the undercover agent against nine of the ten targets whereby, three transactions from each target were done inline with POCA Act requirements as directed by the NPA.
The said transactions collectively amounted to R 1 056 500.00, divided as follows:
42 000 mandrax tables valued at R 1 050 000.00 and 140 grams Tik valued at R 6 500.00