Kidnapping, cash-in-transit heist suspects make first court appearance in Gqeberha

The eight suspects arrested with a stash of firearms and ammunition in Booysen Park on Monday made their first court appearance on Wednesday
SUSPECTS NABBED: The eight suspects arrested with a stash of firearms and ammunition in Booysen Park on Monday made their first court appearance on Wednesday
Image: Supplied

A group of heavily armed suspects, nabbed during a special police operation near Booysen Park on Monday, made a brief appearance in the Gelvandale magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Lilitha Cuthalele, 23, Thalendi Katsau, 38, Nkululeko Jamnda, 29, Mkhuseli Dangala, 39, Aviwe Solani, 25, Thembani Magenuka, 44, Lazola Mjekula, 38, and Sibabalwe Gcinikhaya Ngwendu, 25, face charges of possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, as well as possession of stolen vehicles.

The eight men were arrested on Monday afternoon during an intelligence-driven operation near the Bloemendal Arterial Road as they tried to flee the scene.

Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) spokesperson Warrant Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana said members of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit (SOCI), based in Gqeberha, along with the Provincial Cash-in-Transit Task Team, Crime Intelligence Gathering (CIG), Gqeberha’s Anti-Gang Unit, Tactical Response Team, as well as the Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC), teamed up to execute the operation.

“Their arrests emanated from information stating that two suspicious motor vehicles were allegedly parked in Polar Park near the Chatty area,” Mhlakuvana said.

“The white Nissan Hardbody double cab bakkie and white Nissan NP200 reportedly had eight occupants.”

Mhlakuvana said upon arriving at the scene, law enforcement members instructed the accused to come out from their vehicles, and they allegedly tried to evade the arrest.

“The vehicles were searched and several firearms, including a 9mm Norinco pistol, 9mm Glock pistol, 9mm Beretta pistol, as well as an R4 automatic rifle, AK-47 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun were found.

“Further allegations divulged that one 9mm pistol appeared to be a police firearm. 

“All the firearms’ serial numbers were filed off, except for one, and a huge quantity of live rounds of ammunition for different firearms was confiscated.”

The police search also uncovered one bullet proof vest, numerous pairs of gloves, hats and face masks, all of which were confiscated, together with the vehicles .       

The case will be transferred to the Gqeberha magistrate’s court in North End and all eight suspects will remain in custody until their next appearance on February 7.

Hawks provincial head Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya commended the efforts by the units involved as it is suspected that these suspects could be involved in several kidnappings and cash-in-transit heists across the province, and particularly in Gqeberha and surrounds.



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