Police team created to probe new crime trend - mobs of robbers

2017-09-08 16:38
Acting Hawks head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Acting Hawks head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Cape Town – Gangs of robbers who target businesses have become the focus of a new police task team created in August specifically to tackle these crimes which have surged in at least three provinces.

Deputy national commissioner of policing Lieutenant-General Sehlahle Masemola said these crimes – involving about 15 robbers storming certain businesses – are becoming a problem.

Recently during a meeting in Parliament, he said he did not yet have intelligence on the matter, but that there had been an upsurge in the crimes in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West.

"A team has been established to deal with these cases specifically. Commonalities have been found in some cases across the provinces," he said.

The meeting at which he spoke was held in Parliament on August 23.

Masemola said a team had been created the week before to deal with the crimes and had made their first arrest.

He said there were task teams investigating certain priority crimes.

"But there must be capacity that focuses on business robberies and they will work collaboratively with the national team. 260 dockets have been set up at the head office."

'Priority crimes'

Masemola said while police had managed to dismantle some hijacking syndicates, housebreaking remained a problem in all provinces.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald asked why the Hawks did not view farm murders and attacks as a national priority.

Acting Hawks head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata said a specific set of criteria was used when determining if a crime was a priority one.

This included looking into corruption and serious organised crime.

"The cash-in-transit heists are a highly organised threat which impact on national security; these require specialised skills and so it was made a priority crime," Matakata said.

If necessary, the national police commissioner could ask the Hawks to assist in terms of farm murders.

So far this had not happened.

Acting national police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said farm murders were being investigated by different units in the various provinces.

He said the police would approach the Hawks if assistance was needed.

"At this point, the provincial commissioners have not indicated that they need any assistance," Mothiba said.

Read more on:    saps  |  hawks  |  cape town  |  crime  |  police

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