Two men, aged 35 and 40, are expected to appear in the Vereeniging Magistrates’ Court on Monday on charges including possession of hijacked vehicles and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, the South African Police Service in Gauteng said.
This followed a SAPS “multi-disciplinary take-down operation” in response to a hijacking and kidnapping that happened on Monday, January 11, when a car driver was allegedly held hostage and released a few hours later by the suspects, SAPS Gauteng spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said in a statement on Sunday.
The intelligence-driven operation on Thursday, January 14, led the police team to a house in Sharpeville in Vereeniging, where police found the hijacked Mercedes Benz GLC SUV as well as a Mercedes Benz sedan that had since been confirmed as hijacked in a case reported at Dawn Park SAPS in Ekurhuleni in December 2020.
A search of the vehicles and the premises led to the discovery of a total of 10 firearms, as well as seven magazines, over 180 rounds of ammunition for various firearms, explosives, an electronic signal jammer, and housebreaking implements.
Police subsequently arrested the two suspects found on the scene. Further investigations were underway to determine a possible link of the suspects and the firearms to other violent crimes in the province. Therefore, the possibility of more charges emerging during the investigation could not be ruled out, Peters said.
The SAPS team comprised of members of the Gauteng specific crimes unit, Johannesburg district crime intelligence, Johannesburg K9 unit, and the community active police unit, as well as the private security Fidelity Specialised Services.
Gauteng acting police commissioner Maj-Gen Tommy Mthombeni commended all the officers involved and welcomed the successful operation that affirmed the continued collaborative approach by Gauteng law enforcement agencies partnering with private security and community structures towards “bringing down the volumes of serious and violent crime such as hijackings, house, and business robberies”.
“Those investigating this and all related cases must work hard to build a watertight case that will ensure a successful prosecution and conviction in court. What the team seized during this operation is indicative of the extremity of the violence these suspects may be involved in, terrorising our communities,” Mthombeni said.
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