NATIONAL Police Commissioner Bheki Cele congratulated officers on a job "well done" after they shot dead six would-be robbers yesterday.
An officer was wounded in both legs and police have launched a manhunt for three other gang members who escaped.
Cele emphasised that if police were fired on they had every right to respond.
Director Sally de Beer said the investigation was continuing.
A shoot-out occurred in Kameeldrift, Pretoria, after guards near Baviaanspoort Prison, north of Pretoria, noticed two cars approaching a Coin security van that was transporting cash around midday.
The guards notified the police and a special task force and the police's air wing were dispatched.
When the police arrived the robbers got out of two vehicles, a black Volkswagen Polo and a white Nissan bakkie.
"The suspects started firing at the Coin van, shooting at its tyres," De Beer said.
The task force opened fire, killing six gunmen.
A police superintendent was shot in both legs. He was airlifted to hospital and is in a stable condition.
Three R5 rifles, four pistols and a shotgun were recovered from the scene.
The Nissan bakkie was found to have been stolen in Boksburg in June this year.
At the same time the police stopped a minibus taxi at the scene and came across two wanted criminals who were arrested.
One was wanted for an armed robbery and the other for a murder that took place in Olifantsfontein.
Cele's spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said: "These robberies are well planned. Part of the robbers' plan is to eliminate whoever is in their way, that is why they don't carry sjamboks.
"Police have to react to a situation. They cannot arrive at a crime scene and stop and think. They have to act quickly.
"We will win the fight against crime. We are on top of it."