Three members of a suspected cash-in-transit heist gang were shot dead and eight others were arrested near the Huguenot Tunnel in the Western Cape, the Hawks confirmed on Wednesday.
The gang, who was suspected of being involved in multiple heists in the Eastern Cape, had been travelling on the N1 near Paarl towards Cape Town when they were intercepted on Tuesday afternoon, said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase.
After receiving a tip-off, a team was assembled with members from the Hawks’ National Priority Violent Crimes Unit, Crime Intelligence, the Special Task Force and the National Intervention Unit, he said.
When the team approached the minibus taxi, the occupants began firing on the officers. Police then returned fire.
Nkwalase said three of the men were shot dead, two were injured and under hospital guard, and six were unharmed.
The team also uncovered an undisclosed amount of money in the vehicle.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was investigating the shootings.
Those arrested face charges of attempted murder and possession of suspected stolen property at this stage.
The investigation continued.