All cops are bad. That’s the perception of the public imparted by the actions of a number of cops who don’t carry out their duties with the dignity and honesty their uniform deserves. However, FleetWatch knows of many cops who are totally dedicated to their task of fighting crime. These people put themselves at risk with often dire consequences. Unfortunately, such dire consequences hit two police members and their families this week when the Hawks suffered a huge 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 that all police tracing teams must 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 van 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. Later in the day, one suspect was tracked and arrested at a Johannesburg hospital.
A follow up operation was immediately 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 expressed his sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased members. “We shall hunt that organized criminal group that attacked the Cash in Transit vehicle and caused the death of our members” said General Lebeya.
“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,” he said.
The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, 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,” he said.
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.
FleetWatch salutes Detective Warrant Officer Delene Grobelaar and Detective Sergeant Wynand Herbst for their service. May they RIP. We also express our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.