Western Cape & Gauteng car syndicate targeting VW Polos nabbed

- in World News

A 31-year-old man, alleged to be part of a syndicate stealing VW Polos in the Western Cape and Gauteng, was released on R3 000 bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said Lesego Motsatsi was the 19th accused in the case, which included officials working in the licensing department, who allegedly helped re-register the stolen cars.

Hani said Motsatsi, who was reported to be an outstanding suspect in the investigation, was arrested on a search warrant in Cape Town on Tuesday, following an in-depth investigation by the Hawks team, which resulted in arresting a syndicate – that was involved in the theft of VW Polo vehicles that operated in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

She said during the first leg of the investigation, eight syndicate members – including their ring leaders – were dealt a major blow when they were arrested for operating from February this year, consecutively, between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“Subsequently, nine suspects were nabbed during the second leg of the investigation, from three different vehicle licensing departments. The eighteenth suspect, a girlfriend to the Gauteng-based ring leader, was arrested on June 16, for her alleged involvement in the syndicate,” said Hani.

The case was remanded to July 23, for the joiner and legal representatives.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said investigating the organized crime was usually especially complex and dangerous, and so the Hawks needed to be commended for their excellent work.

“We, in the Western Cape government, take all forms of organized crime very seriously. We view this kind of vehicle theft in the same light as the drug trade, extortion, and other such serious crimes,” said Fritz.

He said the work of the Hawks and the arrest of the suspects should be a strong signal to criminals that there would be consequences for their actions.

Provincial community policing forum board chairperson Fransina Lukas said car theft was predominantly happening in more affluent areas, where people have more than one vehicle and not enough parking space and, as a result, they parked outside on pavements.

Lukas said more awareness needs to be done to sensitise owners on risks associated with this behaviour, and that owners must not be negligent and leave valuables inside vehicles.

Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) spokesperson Sharon Sorour-Morris said vehicle theft was not a priority for the CCID, due to the fact that not many vehicles were stolen in the Cape Town CBD, in the city centre footprint in which the CCID operated.

ANC provincial community safety spokesperson Mesuli Kama said the crime statistics fourth quarter of 2020/2021 showed a 15.4% increase in carjacking. In fact, the statistics for this category has been on the increase each year, since 2016/17.

Kama said that was precisely why the ANC in the Western Cape always called for intelligence-driven operations, to unearth the syndicates and arrest all the culprits involved.

-Cape Argus

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