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2023/02/24      |  Written By:  Captain L Ramovha   |   Province:  Gauteng

GAUTENG – Detective Sergeant Melusi Nhlapho (41), attached to Katlehong North police station was remanded in custody in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 20 February 2023.

This arose from an attempted cash-in-transit heist on Friday, 17 February 2023. A fidelity cash solutions armoured vehicle (AV) was derailed at the street corner of Kgotso and Mpambo Street, Mavimbela section in Katlehong. 

The guards were then taken out of the AV and made to lay on the ground. The AV was bombed with explosives whilst shots were randomly being fired by a group of heavily armed suspects. Two bystanders aged 35 and 46 were wounded from the skirmish. The group got away empty handed in four different vehicles, two Mercedes Benz, a BMW and a Toyota Quantum. The BMW that was used to smash into the AV was abandoned on the scene.

The operational team led by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Highway Patrol, Dog unit, Ekurhuleni Metro Police and private securities responded timeously on the scene. Intelligence gathered was operationalised culminating in the detection of two of the vehicles fitting the description of the getaway vehicles. The vehicles were parked in the double garage at a house along Asparagus Street in Palm Ridge. 

Upon arrival at the address, five people were found in the premises. A preliminary probe revealed that the vehicles were affixed with false registration plates. Both vehicles were established to have been hijacked as per Eden Park and Meadowlands policing precincts. Further investigation led to the arrest of Sergeant Nhlapo as the one who allegedly organised for the vehicles to be parked there.

Nhlapo and others reportedly hurriedly drove into the yard on Friday morning. They then allegedly left the said vehicles. The second Mercedes Benz that was reportedly hijacked in Moffatview area was parked at another house nearby. 

Detective Sergeant Nhlapo was then traced and arrested at his residential area in Flamingo crossing complex along Fire Finge Street in Albertsdaal. A search of the residence uncovered a set of police issued number plates, multiple police reflective jackets, and two attempted murder case dockets. Nhlapo was charged for conspiracy to commit a robbery with more charges to be added as the investigation continues. The court postponed the case to Monday, 27 February 2023 when Nhlapo is expected to make his bail bid.

The Gauteng Provincial Head of the Hawks, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa commended the team for the swift arrest. “We will act without hesitation to ensure that those who commit or involve themselves in acts of criminality are dealt with decisively. Police members are supposed to be beyond reproach and on the frontline of fighting violent crimes not aiding it in any way or form,” he said.