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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

M1 highway robbery sparks urgent police action

Johannesburg motorists faced an ordeal during Tuesday's rush hour as armed individuals targeted cars on the M1 North near Gold Reef City.

The SA Police Service (Saps) have urged victims of Tuesday morning’s M1 highway robbery during peak traffic to contact Johannesburg Central Police Station.

Tuesday morning started unfortunately for certain Johannesburg motorists who were on the M1 North highway near Gold Reef City during peak morning traffic after five armed individuals targeted drivers.

Armed men robbing cars

Motorists took to social media to warn each other about five men carrying guns who were robbing cars. Images and videos were also posted.

“There are five guys with guns on the M1 North just before the crown interchange, robbing cars. Apparently, it’s a mess; drivers are bumping into each other trying to flee,” X (formerly Twitter) user @ncuurzee tweeted just for 9am.

Security guard service Vision Tactical also tweeted to motorists who were on the highway to stay alert.

“Reports of five armed individuals disrupting traffic and targeting drivers. Members from our SSU and law enforcement are swarming the area, aiding those affected, and on the hunt for the perpetrators. Stay safe out there,” the company tweeted.

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No cases reported yet

After the incident, the SA Police Service issued a statement saying that National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola had ordered the maximum mobilisation of resources along Gauteng highways and other strategic locations during peak hour traffic.

“The Saps has also bolstered the deployment of the Highway Patrol, Saps Airwing, and Gauteng Flying Squad units to monitor and conduct regular patrols along the identified routes,” national police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said.

Mathe further confirmed that by Tuesday afternoon, no cases had been reported yet, but urged anyone who fell victim to this alleged crime to call the Johannesburg Central Police Station Commander on 082 332 5016 for better coordination and prompt dispatching of resources.

“Engagements with the JMPD and other law enforcement agencies are ongoing in an effort to curb further incidents. Saps tracking teams are on the ground searching for these suspects,” she said.

Lesufi talks tough on crime

The incident on the highway came a few hours after Gauteng Premier Andrek Panyaza Lesufi talked tough about crime during his Gauteng State of the Province Address on Monday evening.

“Asijiki! No corner of our townships, informal settlements, CBDs, or hostels will go unpoliced. Our war on crime knows no bounds; it is real and it is uncompromising,” Lesufi said.

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The premier announced that the number of Crime Prevention Wardens, also known as AmaPanyaza, will increase to 12 000 and that 350 law enforcement officers will be permanently deployed on Small Street in the Johannesburg CBD because it is a crime hotspot.

Armed men allegedly illegal miners

Meanwhile, it was reported that the five armed criminals on the highway were allegedly zama-zamas (illegal miners).

Lesufi said the Saps, SANDF, Gauteng Traffic Police, wardens, and private security companies were dealing with notorious crime syndicates decisively.

“We are dealing decisively with notorious crime syndicates, especially those involving bank robberies, illegal mining, drug and child trafficking, and cash-in-transit heists,” he said.

“To date, 79 749 joint operations have been conducted at provincial and district levels in the Township, Informal Settlement, and Hostel (TISH) areas. These operations resulted in 9 244 arrests and the recovery of 1 532 stolen/hijacked vehicles.”

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