PRETORIA, May 18 – Police have arrested a 30-year-old man for the robbery of 18 students and their professors who were on an outreach at Viva Foundation School in Lusaka informal settlement in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria.
Gauteng’s police spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, said the man was arrested on Thursday night at Pienaarspoort informal settlement in Mamelodi East.
“Police are hot on the heels of outstanding suspects and believe that it is only a matter of time before they are found and arrested,” she said.
The robbery, which made national headlines, happened on Monday.
It is alleged that a group of about five armed suspects accosted the visitors and robbed them of personal belongings that included laptops, cellphones, cameras, passports, plane tickets, bags and United States dollars.
Peters said that a day after the incident, an intelligence-based operation led investigators to a car wash in Phase 3 of Mamelodi East, where a Toyota Quantum matching the description of the vehicle used during the robbery was recovered.
“The vehicle was processed, leading to the discovery of crucial evidence through which police were able to confirm that the taxi had been used during the commission of the armed robbery,” she said.
The detained suspect is facing charges of business robbery, attempted murder and assault. He will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Gauteng’s provincial police commissioner, lieutenant general Elias Mawela, commended the investigating team who worked “around the clock” to track down the suspect.
Mawela urged the team to maintain its momentum.
“Criminals must understand that we mean business. They cannot be terrorising our communities, let alone children as well as visitors to our country, and think they can get away with it. We will not rest until we are convinced that serious and violent crime is a thing of the past,” said Mawela. (ANA)