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Speaker Notes by the Minister of Police, Minister Bheki Cele: Progress of the Stabilisation Interventions in South Africa

02 July 2018; Gauteng

The National Commissioner of Police, General Sitole
All Deputy National Commissioners
The Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations
The Mayors of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni
All Provincial, Divisional and Regional Commissioners
Component Heads
All SAPS members and personnel
Members of the media


Receive my revolutionary greetings this morning members of the media during this month of August where we all commemorate the progressive role of women in the continued struggle for the emancipation of women in our country. Malibongwe Igama LaMakhosikazi!

Members of the media, today we say PHEZU’KOMKHONO in the province of Gauteng. We are gathered here today with and the entire top management of the police to say ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO! As we launch the stabilisation operation BUYA MTHETHO in this province. We are literally calling for a complete shutdown of the criminal underworld and all crime infested areas in Gauteng and we say THUMA MINA... 

The scourge of cash in transit robberies has become a topical matter in the last three months May, June and July. South Africa has been plagued with serious and violent crimes, particularly aggravated robberies, which has instilled fear and terror in our innocent, vulnerable and law-abiding citizens of our country.

You may recall that, following an unprecedented spate of attacks on cash in transit (CIT) vehicles in May this year, the National Commissioner of Police and myself pronounced on a nationwide stabilization interventions to curb and do away with serious crimes, particularly CIT Robberies. During that press conference I have promised the nation that I will provide feedback on the status of the operations.

Here we are, six weeks later since the pronouncement I can report that we have made significant inroads in breaking the backs of the syndicates involved in CIT robberies. While I am satisfied with the progress, our fight with these criminals is not yet over.

The impact that these interventions had on the crime situation countrywide can be outlined as follows:

From 15 April 2018 to 01 June 2018 cash in transit robberies (CIT) have decline by 63% compared to six weeks prior to the 15th of April 2018.

Hereunder is the breakdown:- 


15 April to 31 May 2018

01 June to 15 July 2018


% Change

Eastern Cape





Free State










KwaZulu Natal















North West





Western Cape











This significant reduction may be attributed to high density, multi-disciplinary stabilization operations. Furthermore, during these interventions the following was also achieved:-

  • A total of 42 suspects have been arrested to date,
  • 59 firearms including rifles and handguns were recovered,
  • 54 vehicles recovered,
  • 47 explosive devices recovered,
  • 152 rounds of ammunition recovered and
  • Millions of rands recovered

Let me take this opportunity to also highlight that during an operation in the Tembisa area over these past 36 hours significant successes were yielded.

A total of 84 suspects were arrested, this includes 4 suspects out of the top 15 who were arrested for rape and murder.

The South African Police Service remains committed to ensuring that people in South Africa are and feel safe as outlined in Outcome 3 of the National Development Plan 2030. Not only do we want to ensure that people are and feel safe but we also want to ensure an environment conducive for and effective and efficient Grand Economic Strategy of the country. If the economy of our country flourishes then we can expect that crime will drop.

Our SAPS members from all disciplines have been working around the clock to stamp the authority of the State and take on criminals toe to toe. These men and women in blue put their lives on the line daily to realize the objectives of these operational interventions.  In June 2018 Gauteng province was given 50 high performance cars as part of visible policing under operation stabilization.

This operational approach is based on the tried and tested method of the multi-disciplinary integration of intelligence, operational processes, resources, competencies and capabilities from all operational environments of SAPS with dedicated and centralised command structures in order to address the identified threat in a result driven and holistic manner.

It is encouraging to note that, from a proactive perspective, Crime Intelligence initially identified more than 30 high profile suspects linked to more than 200 cases, dating back from 1995, relating to cash-in-transit heists, associated robberies and other feeder crimes such as carjacking, illegal possession of firearms, business robberies and possession of stolen property. 18 of these suspects have been addressed so far, with the most notable being Willington Bibi Cenenda who was arrested during a Crime Intelligence driven operation in Bloemfontein on the 26th of July 2018. He was wanted for at least 23 CIT robberies. Four of the top 20 ranking suspects have also been arrested including number 1, 2 and 3. We are serious about turning the tide.

Furthermore, during June 2018, as a follow-up initiative, over 350 suspects were identified in relation to cash-in-transit heists and other feeder crimes such as carjacking, business robbery, house robbery, ATM bombing, possession of unlicensed firearms/explosives and corruption. Out of the 350 suspects focused attention are currently being directed to the 30 most active/prominent priority targets and associates, which include SAPS members. Counter Intelligence investigations are currently underway.

A recent success, two suspects were arrested and nine (9) explosive tubes with detonators as well as balaclavas, a semi-automatic rifle and large number of ammunition, three luxury vehicles were seized. We are investigating the possibility of these suspects being linked to the cash-in-transit heist in the North West Province on the N4 highway near Marikana on 26th of July 2018.

On 12th of June 2018 members from the tracking team received information from Crime Intelligence about suspects planning to commit a cash-in-transit robbery in Marble Hall. The suspects were seen observing a Fidelity Truck. The operational team approached the suspects and were found with stolen cars. It was established on the scene that one of the vehicle belong to a SAPS member stationed a Motetema SAPS. It was also established that the SAPS member hid one of the getaway cars at Motetema SAPS barracks. The member was confronted and she admitted that she is romantically involved with one of the kingpins who was arrested at the scene. Arrested suspects are well known cash-in-transit troublemakers who are on bail on several cases in different provinces.

On 24th of July 2018 two suspects were arrested in Alice in the Eastern Cape for committing a CIT robbery in Engcobo. A large amount of cash, a firearm and two suspected stolen vehicles were recovered by a multi-disciplinary team comprising Crime Intelligence, DPCI, Air wing and TRT, POPO. The arrests came after the suspects committed a CIT robbery in Engcobo on 23rd of July 2018. The suspects fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money in a double cab LDV and a sedan, which they hijacked at the scene.

On the 04th of June 2018 an operation was conducted to locate and arrest most wanted suspects who are linked to several cash-in-transit robberies in Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North-West Provinces. The SAPS acted on information and a suspect linked to 6 cases was arrested on the R579 road.

On the 07th of June 2018 a contact person reported that Ncebo Hlongwa and his friend by the name of Phumlane Madlala were in possession of explosives. The contact person reported that the mentioned suspects are involved in cash-in-transit robberies. The contact person reported that Phumlane Madlala escaped in Charlestown, Mpumalanga on 6th of June 2018 during the arrest of Sabelo Sihle Hlongwa and five (5) other suspects when they were found in possession of firearms on their way to Vryheid to commit a cash-in-transit heist. The operational team (Gauteng DPCI, JHB Metro Police, Meadowlands detectives and Soweto Crime Intelligence) conducted an operation during which the two suspects were found in possession of explosives and were arrested.

Phumlani Madlala was interviewed during the arrest where he confessed that he escaped during the arrest of Sabelo Shile Hlongwa and five (5) others in Charlestown, Mpumalanga. The suspect further said that when he escaped he hid firearms and ammunition at a house in Charlestown where they seek refugee before they return to Gauteng. The suspect was booked out from Meadowlands SAPS on 08th of June 2018 and transported to Charlestown to point out the hidden firearms and ammunition. The following arms and ammunition were found hidden at the house:

  • 1 x R5 and magazine
  • 1 x CZ 75 pistol with magazine
  • 35 live R5 ammunition
  • 12 live 9 mm live ammunition

It is evident through the numerous successes mentioned that we are stabilising the scourge of Cash-In-transit robberies and that we will continue until we win the war on criminals.

These stabilization have not only dealt a significant blow to CIT robberies but they were also designed to address the issues of gangsterism, political violence, wildlife trafficking, murder incidents, cross border operations and other crime categories.

As part of Crime Intelligence’s intervention on gangsterism 85 high profile targets have been identified. There are several other priority targets that are currently being addressed in various areas, particularly in the Eastern and Western Cape.

In the Free State province four (4) main gangs have been identified. The gang phenomenon that is focused on the Free State are involved in drugs, illicit mining and robbery. The aim of the intervention is to initiate specific crime intelligence operations on gangs and their involvement in crime, in order to, at the end gather sufficient evidence to affect arrests and to ultimately neutralize the threat in these provinces. Additional analysts from national office have already intervened in the Western Cape in an effort to completely understand the gang phenomenon.

Over 18 000 arrests were executed countrywide during parallel operations for contact crimes, contact related crimes, crimes detected as result of police action, liquor related crimes, serious crimes, property related crimes and second-hands goods related crimes

Drug lords, drug dealers and manufactures as well as drug users also suffered a huge blow as various drugs were confiscated as follows;

  • 6071532.621 grams of dagga
  • 2070.942 grams of crystal meth
  • 365.881 grams of heroine
  • 5219.75 Mandrax tables
  • 1546.226 grams of Nyaope
  • 115.79 grams of cocaine

Two people have been arrested in a major drug operation on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 in Harding, Kwa-Zulu Natal. A multi-disciplinary team comprising of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence, Port Shepstone’s TRT and K9 discovered a huge clandestine drug-manufacturing laboratory, which was window dressed as a farm. Going forward we will be profiling farmsteads so we know what is happening as part of our rural safety strategy.

Drug related crimes decreased from 38 378 cases from 1 June 2017 to 15 July 2017 to 37 329 cases from 1 June 2018 to 15 July 2018 which indicates a decrease of 1049 cases.

The killing of our police members on and off duty continues to remain a huge concern to the management of the SAPS and the safety of our men and women in blue remains high on the agenda of the SAPS and is at the heart of the SAPS’s strategic imperatives. The management of the SAPS has also identified several strategies, including the review of the National Police Safety Strategy, to ensure that its members are safe. This strategy is in line with the Turnaround Vision strategy of the police as well as the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 which seeks to address activities relating to attacks, murders and unnatural deaths of police officials.

We are well aware that we can have many police safety initiatives and plans in place but it will never succeed if we don’t have the buy in and cooperation of our communities. Today we are appealing to everyone on all levels of society, to stand together with the South African Police Service and to stop the ruthless criminals who threaten the stability and peace in our country. Our members are our most precious asset and without them there will be no police service.

As we continue with this approach to stabilise the crime situation in our country we urge young and old to become actively involved in the fight against crime and to support and assist the police and other law enforcement agencies in all their crime fighting endeavors and to report any criminal activities to the police.

As part of community mobilization, I continue to call upon all South Africans to be our eyes and ears by providing information on criminal activities. Information can be provided to local police station or to our Crime Stop number 08600 10111, I also want to make a clarion call to our SAPS members to work very closely with members of the community for us to realize the desired support from all sectors of society.

Enquiries: -Spokesperson for the National Commissioner – Ms Reneilwe Serero – 071 492 0073;
Spokesperson for National Commissioner – Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo – 082 567 4153