Limpopo CIT kingpin unknown as 19 dead suspects have the answers

Hawks head Lebeya says there is a lot to unpack in probing the deadly shoot-out

04 September 2023 - 15:01
By Rorisang Kgosana
Nineteen suspects were killed when the Hawks raided a luxury home in Makhado to crack down on a CIT gang on Friday.
Image: Twitter/@AtlhendaM Nineteen suspects were killed when the Hawks raided a luxury home in Makhado to crack down on a CIT gang on Friday.

With 19 suspects killed in a shoot-out with the Hawks, there is no-one to interrogate in the investigation into the heavily armed gang found in a house in Limpopo last week.

Police raided a luxury home in Makhado on Friday, where they were met with a string of bullets by a gang of alleged cash-in-transit robbers.

A shoot-out ensued, and 18 of the suspects were fatally shot. The 19th body was discovered once the Hawks processed the scene. Two of the deceased suspects were women.

Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya said the owner of the villa was among those killed in the gunfire.

“This means some of the questions you would like to understand — like how that army found itself in that house ... where there were 10 high-calibre high rifles and a pistol — are left to us to understand precisely what happened,” he said.

“As to who the kingpin is, those who were found in the house unfortunately did not survive, which means we will be investigating on our own without asking them questions.”

Senior police officer Lt-Col Joe Coetzer was injured during the shoot-out when he was shot in the leg. He was airlifted to hospital for medical care, but despite intervention from doctors his leg could not be saved and was amputated.

“He is still receiving medical attention at the hospital, so obviously we will not unpack how he is doing. We expect that he will be recovering under the good hands of those medical practitioners,” Lebeya said.

Lebeya was speaking at a briefing in Pretoria on Monday where he outlined the milestones achieved by the Hawks in the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year.

In that period, 27 arrests were made when it came to cash-in-transit heists. 23 CIT-related offences were reported, including the Sebokeng gun battle where nine suspects were shot dead and three were injured.

During the quarter, six convictions were made and all shared sentences of 121 years of imprisonment.

One of the Hawks’ successes was the arrest of three Fidelity security officials alleged to be involved in a CIT heist in the Free State. This after a Fidelity CIT vehicle was on its way to the Bloemfontein CBD to deliver cash on May 9, but the drivers were accosted by a group of heavily armed suspects.

The armed gang ordered the CIT crew to get out of the vehicle and blew up the vault and the drop safe open, Lebeya said.

The suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of money and three firearms from the security officials.

The following day, the Bloemfontein Hawks arrested three Fidelity security officials, Mzwandile Choko, 60, Molefe Sidwell Molefe, 61, and Deon de Lange, 48, for their involvement in the heist.

“Molefe and De Lange were released on a warning while Choko is still in custody. The case has been remanded to September 13 2023,” he said.