A police constable has been arrested for protecting her alleged cash heist kingpin boyfriend during a police raid in Limpopo yesterday.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the constable was allegedly romantically involved with the suspect, and had allegedly provided an escape car for him on Tuesday evening.
According to the minister, the act by the constable was wayward, and deserved harsh punishment.
“But it looks like in all the cash heist cases we have there is a member of the private security company involved. That has given the police service an indication that most of these cash heist incidents are an inside job, and have to be dealt with serious carefulness and thorough investigations,” he said.
Cele said during the incident, police managed to arrest three other suspects implicated in recent cash-in-transit heists.
He said government would ensure that those entangled and arrested for the crimes will face the full might of the law when they appear before the courts.
Cele’s words were echoed by police commissioner, Khehla Sitole, who said the constable has since been dismissed from the police service, in light of the unlawful action.
Sitole said: “My instruction is cut and dried, that is just a summary dismissal. I can confirm that she is no longer in the organisation, and that is just my principle approach. So if anyone is involved in crime, we show him or her the door, because our police service cannot be the breeding ground for crime when we speak so harshly about crime.
“If we find out that you are involved in crime, we take your police uniform away and replace it with the orange uniform, which is always readily available.”
The arrest of the constable and the three suspects comes just a week after Limpopo police arrested four other suspects, minutes after they bombed a G4S vehicle transporting cash between Letsitele and Tarentaalrand near Tzaneen.
Police spokesperson in Limpopo, Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe, said the vehicle was transporting money on Tuesday along the R71 road, when about 10 suspects started firing bullets at the wheels of the vehicle.
Ngoepe said in a statement: “The heavily armed suspects ordered three security officers out of the vehicle at gunpoint, before blasting the car with explosives. The suspects did not waste any time but fled the scene with (an) undisclosed amount of money.”
Police responded to the crime and a chase ensued. Three suspects between the ages of 25 and 43 were later arrested near Swadini in Hoedspruit – one managed to flee while the other one was not so fortunate.
“The fourth suspect died at the scene after sustaining serious wounds during a shoot-out with the police. A white Mercedes ML, a black Audi, two AK-47 rifles, one R-4 rifle, one Beretta pistol, a police bulletproof vest, two army bullet proof vests, one two-way hand radio, two bags of money, and the blue lights were recovered at the scene.”
The firearms would be taken for ballistic testing to establish if they were used in other crimes.
This week disgruntled guards and drivers complained they were ill-equipped to protect themselves during cash heists. Hundreds of security officers countrywide took to the streets over the increasing number of cash heists throughout the country in recent months.