PRETORIA, July 28 – Police Minister Bheki Cele and the South African Police Service (SAPS) top leadership have welcomed the arrest this week of one of South Africa’s most wanted alleged cash-in-transit robbers.
“A suspect who was wanted by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for alleged murder, attempted murder, possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of explosives, and possession of suspected stolen property has finally been captured,” police ministry spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo and Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a joint statement.
“The suspect, Willington Cenenda, 39, who appeared in the media two weeks ago, was arrested in a crime intelligence-driven operation in Bloemfontein [in the Free State] on Thursday, assisted by the local TRT [tactical response team] members,” they said.
Cenenda was wanted for a 2016 case where he and his accomplices were allegedly involved in a shoot-out with police. A 12-member group allegedly conspired to commit a cash-in-transit robbery in Mpumalanga. Police received information about a planned cash heist along the Delmas road and a swift operation involving the Hawks, crime intelligence, and the task force was planned, the statement said.
The task force members intercepted the alleged criminal group and a shoot-out ensued, leaving three of the suspects dead and two wounded. One of the task force members died in an accident during the engagement. Several “high calibre firearms” and vehicles were seized.
Cenenda had appeared briefly at the Delmas High Court and would be joining his alleged accomplices in court on August 20. Further investigations to link him to other cases were continuing, Mulaudzi and Naidoo said.
Cele hailed Cenenda’s arrest as “a major stepping stone in stamping the authority of the law in South Africa”.
“We will, as the South African Police Service, continue to ensure we put a permanent stop to the scourge of cash-in-transit crime. It is our responsibility and mission to protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and their property and ensure criminals are brought to justice. We are very serious about turning the tide, we will not rest until South Africans feel safe,” Cele said.
National police commissioner Lt-Gen Khehla Sitole and Hawks national head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya also welcomed the arrest and vowed to “remain resilient in effectively breaking the backbone of organised crime and other criminal behaviour in the country”. (ANA)