Limpopo police say they hope to make a breakthrough soon, after arresting a suspect believed to be part of a syndicate linked to cash-in-transit heists across the country.
Police arrested the man on Monday, following a tip-off from residents. He was found lying, bleeding from gunshot wounds, near some bushes in Ga-Phaahla village, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said on Tuesday.
It is believed that the injured man was part of the group of robbers who tried to ambush a cash-in-transit van, which was on its way to the Jane Furse area.
Three suspects, travelling in a silver Toyota Corolla, allegedly forced the cash-in-transit van to pull over, and then opened fire on the vehicle, Ngoepe said.
The van's security guards retaliated, shooting all three suspects, one seriously. The suspects' accomplices then arrived on the scene in a white Audi A4 and loaded two of the injured men into their vehicle before fleeing the scene.
They left the third suspect behind, who later died. They also abandoned the Corolla.
A day later, police were informed that one of the injured suspects was in the bushes.
"On arrival, a middle-aged unknown man was found in the river, badly injured with gunshot wounds, and he was unable to talk as the firearm projectile was still lodged in his mouth," said Ngoepe.
He added that the man was being treated in hospital and was under police guard.
Ngoepe said he hoped the man would be able to identify his accomplice who died in the shooting.
"We believe further investigation may connect the suspects with other crimes, as profiling is still going on," he said.
According to police, an AK-47, a 9mm pistol, and an undisclosed amount of money were recovered from the stolen Toyota Corolla.
Ngoepe said preliminary investigations had also revealed that the getaway Audi A4, that was later recovered, had been reported stolen in the Garsfontein area.
The same car is also connected to a cash-in-transit robbery which occurred at the Bloemfontein Airport in January 2018.