South Africa: Cops arrested as part of explosives gang linked to cash-in-transit heists

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Police minister Fikile Mbalula is pleased that “rotten cops who betray our badge” were arrested along with an explosives syndicate with links to cash-in-transit heists.

A joint operation between a specialised Hawks unit‚ the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and Crime Intelligence led to the arrest of 10 people who were allegedly selling commercial explosives.

The syndicate was bust in raids at dawn on Tuesday in the Free State towns of Thabong‚ Odendaalsrus‚ Virginia‚ and Theunissen after a four-month-long investigation.

“The 10 suspects aged between 28 and 46‚ three amongst them are police officers‚ are alleged to have been supplying criminal syndicates with explosives commonly used to bomb ATMs‚ cash-in-transit vehicles and vaults for cash at institutions other than the banks‚” said Hawks spokesman Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.

“A series of transactions were conducted with the suspects wherein undercover members bought a substantial amount of explosives.”

Mbalula said in a statement that criminals involved in cash-in-transit heists not only hurt the economy but also targeted social grant money meant for vulnerable members of society.

“I am happy that the rotten cops who betray our badge are being arrested. As a nation we must refuse to live side by side with criminals‚ we must work together for the prosperity of our nation‚” said Mbalula.

The second phase of the investigation is expected to deal with the origin of the explosives and links to crimes in which they were used. The 10 are expected to appear before the Fochville and Virginia Magistrate’s Courts on Thursday.

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