Police have been praised for apprehending a heavily-armed gang who were en route to KwaZulu-Natal to allegedly commit a cash-in-transit heist.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the gang was intercepted in Vrede, in the Free State, on Tuesday afternoon.
“Police were following up on intelligence of a planned CIT heist when a shootout ensued between police and the suspects.
“Unfortunately, a 40-year-old police officer was shot and killed when the suspects, who were travelling in a Dodge sedan, opened fire.”
Mathe said the Dodge overturned.
“It was later discovered that the vehicle was hijacked in Wierdabrug in Centurion.”
She said at the scene, two suspects were injured and arrested.
“Police recovered an AK47 and an R5 with more than 240 rounds of high-calibre ammunition.
“Another group of suspects were intercepted in Memela, about 52km from Vrede.
“Three suspects were arrested, and some fled the scene.”
Mathe said a manhunt has since been launched.
“At this scene, two Mercedes-Benz sedans were recovered, and one has already been detected as stolen.”
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola, said members were on high alert to prevent and combat incidents of serious and violent crime, especially aggravated robberies.
“We will continue to trace these wanted criminals; it’s them and us, and this is a fight we are not willing to lose.
“We have heightened our operations and are intensifying them throughout the country.”