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Gauteng Driver Kills Suspected Road Spike Robber

A Gauteng motorist shot and killed a suspect after he and his family came under attack by the notorious Gauteng road spike robbers. In the latest incident, police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo said three armed men attacked the family whose car had stopped after a tyre was punctured at around 21:00 on Friday night.

The man and his family were driving on the R80 highway in Akasia when they hit what they suspected to be spikes placed on the road.

“While the driver was changing the tyre, with his wife standing on the side, they were attacked by three armed men who fired shots at them. The husband fired back and one suspect was hit on the upper body while the other two fled on foot.”

Members of the Flying Squad responded and found a suspect on the scene. The suspected robber was later certified dead by paramedics.

Masondo said: “Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects who escaped from the scene and are warning motorists driving on the R80 highway to be cautious, especially when driving at night. Police have stabilised incidents of car spiking on Gauteng roads that were on the increase, especially on the N4 highway and the R566. Crime pattern analysis showed that as soon identified hotspots are mitigated with increased visibility of law enforcement and security partners, criminals either change their modus operandi or move to another location.

“If motorists suspect their tyre punctures are as a result of driving over spikes, they must immediately call the police emergency number 10111, scan their immediate environment and by stay vigilant while changing the tyre. If they feel unsafe, they must try to drive to the nearest filling station or police station.”

According to Masondo 14 suspects who were arrested in October last year after robbing people on the R80 and surroundings remain in custody. Their trials are expected to start between September and December this year.

Police have warned motorists to be extra careful and vigilant on the province’s roads as the robbers move locations whenever law enforcement increases visibility at hotspots.

Joburg Nurse Sells Negative Covid Certificates to Travellers

The Johannesburg-based nurse accused of selling fake negative Covid-19 certificates to people wishing to travel to other countries has been released on R3 000 bail.

The accused, Skhumbuzo Manana, 28, appeared in the Booysens Magistrate’s Court on Monday. He is accused of contravening the Medicines and Related Activities Act, as well as fraud, uttering (unlawfully and intentionally passing off a false document (forged) to the actual or potential prejudice of another), and possession of suspected stolen goods.

Manana was granted bail and his case was postponed until the 17th of September 2021 for further investigations.

Manana, who works as a nurse at the Parkhurst Clinic, allegedly sold fake Covid-19 negative test certificates for R500 to people wishing to travel to other countries. He allegedly did this without actually conducting the necessary testing or taking blood samples to confirm the individuals as covid negative.

Allegedly his customers sent him their ID numbers and, after a day or two, they would receive a message from the laboratory, indicating that they had tested negative for Covid-19.

A complaint was later laid against Manana with the Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) of the City of Joburg. He was consequently arrested on August 21 outside his home in Turffontein during a sting operation by members attached to the GFIS unit, in collaboration with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.

The City is trying to track all those who bought certificates from him for questioning.

Gauteng Highjacking Hotspots – The Most Dangerous Province in SA

The Minister of Police Bheki Cele has published the official crime statistics for Q1 2021/2022, with a steep increase in hijackings reported. The South African Police Service (SAPS) has chosen to compare the crime data to Q1 2019 instead of Q1 2020 to account for the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown.

“We cannot compare the same period of this year and last year, due to the skewed and abnormal crime trends, caused by the different levels of lockdown, if we are to understand this crime picture that we are presenting to you today,” Cele said.

“While we will not sweep the high and unnatural figures under the carpet, we will instead bring to the fore a holistic picture of comparing the 2021/22 Q1 crime figures to a ‘normal period’ two years ago where there was no lockdown.”

The report shows that aggravated robberies such as hijacking increased by 92.2% compared to Q1 2019. By comparison, carjacking increased by 13.1% compared to Q1 2020. A notable trend can be seen in the impact of lockdown levels, as the country moved from a level 5 lockdown at the end of March 2020 (394 hijackings) to a level 3 lockdown in June (1,376 hijackings).

A similar trend was seen in the reverse as the country saw a high number of hijackings during its level 1 lockdown in May 2021 (1,775 hijackings), with this dropping to 1,675 hijackings as the country moved down to a level 3 lockdown in June 2021.

Cele described the level 5 lockdown as a ‘crime holiday’ for South Africa.

“The crime holiday is long gone, and these figures should action us and strengthen our resolve.

“The figures as distorted as they are must also sharpen the SAPS operational responses to make South Africa safer for all who live in it.”

 

Once again, most cases of hijacking were reported in Gauteng (2,704), followed by the KwaZulu-Natal (820) and the Western Cape (589).  Most of these hijackings are reported to take place in townships, followed closely by residential areas.

Vehicle tracking company Tracker, in August published data that shows that the nature of vehicle crime is changing as hijackers become more brazen and desperate. For the past three years, hijacking has been increasing at an alarming rate and is now more prevalent than vehicle theft, said Duma Ngcobo, chief operating officer at Tracker South Africa.

“The slant towards hijacking is most likely an opportunistic tactic, with a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly fast-moving consumable goods.

“Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted. South Africans should be wary and remain vigilant, especially when returning home from shopping or when goods bought online are delivered to their homes. Hijackings are often violent, and there are instances where a hostage is taken,” said Ngcobo.

Another popular tactic is criminals impersonating law enforcement officials to commit hijackings, a method otherwise known as blue light robberies, he said.

“Criminals also commit vehicle theft using online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment.

“Sometimes, criminals pretend there is something wrong with your vehicle, a method known as flagging down. They also take advantage of drivers stopped on the side of the road or those picking up hitchhikers,” said Ngcobo.

Most Dangerous Suburbs in JHB revealed

Fidelity ADT says it has seen an alarming rise in the number of armed house robberies across Johannesburg over the course of March 2021. Charnel Hattingh, the head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, said that the security company recorded 33 incidents in the north of Johannesburg alone.

Bryanston, Petervale, Paulshof and Wendywood recorded the highest numbers of armed robberies in Johannesburg.  In addition, there have been sixteen recorded incidents in Bryanston and surrounding areas, ten in Wendywood areas and surrounds, and seven in the Fourways area.

Charnel Hattingh said it was particularly concerning that the majority of these incidents involved armed suspects.

“We can see that in a number of instances people have forgotten to arm their systems, or put on their beams. There is also a worrying trend of gates being left open.

“That is a problem as it is a home owner’s first line of defence. In other instances, we have found that criminals find a weak point in the perimeter security where the electric fence is not working or the gates are not locked for example.

“Fortunately these criminals appear to be in and out for easy pickings, but there is always the worry of personal injury,” she said.

Security measures 

Fidelity ADT said that security measures such as electric fences, detection beams and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) are still key deterrents to crime, as are dogs.

“For homeowners, small dogs that sleep inside the house are seen as a deterrent. How secure your neighbourhood is, is also a meaningful factor.

“If robbers are scouting carefully they will view regular patrol and a strong neighbourhood watch system as a good reason to move on,” Hattingh said.

She said that domestic workers at private residences should always keep security gates on doors locked – they may not hear an intruder over the noise of the vacuum or know that someone has entered the house while they are in the backyard. She added that the alarm system must always be armed when they leave the house – even if it is only for a few minutes.

“The bottom line is you always need to remain vigilant. Act as if you are being watched and take all necessary precautions.

“Your security starts with having the correct domestic and gardening employees who are well vetted and au fait with your security protocols, to having the right security measures around your home; to living in a community that supports and has good security protocols,” she said.

National data 

National data published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in February also showed an increase in the number of violent crimes, as the country entered reduced lockdown levels.  The data includes the third quarter of the 2020/21 period, covering criminal activity reported between October and December 2020.

Aggravated robberies such as hijacking increased by 7%. A notable increase was reported in the hijacking of trucks, delivery drivers and couriers. There was also a 66% increase in cash-in-transit  hijackings;

Residential robberies increased by 1.3%, while business robberies decreased by 6.9% compared to the same period last year. This is reflected in Gauteng’s provincial crime data which shows that murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common robbery and rape all increased over the same time period.

National Crime Data: Q3, October to December 2020

Category Oct – Dec 2019 Oct – Dec 2020 Change
Robbery of cash in transit 39 65 +66.7%
Truck hijacking 325 436 +34.2%
Attempted murder 5 014 5 452 +8.7%
Commercial crime 21 725 23 428 +7.8%
Carjacking 4 462 4 794 +7.4%
Murder 5 908 6 297 +6.6%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 2 515 2 642 +5.0%
Sexual offences 15 325 15 595 +1.8%
Malicious injury to property 29 598 30 032 +1.5%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm 49 428 50 124 +1.4%
Robbery at residential premises 5 704 5 781 +1.3%
Common assault 47 599 47 875 +0.6%
Arson 999 957 -4.2%
Robbery at non-residential premises 5 426 5 052 -6.9%
Stock-theft 8 437 7 854 -6.9%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 37 352 34 599 -7.4%
Burglary at non-residential premises 17 179 15 550 -9.5%
Drug-related crime 41 520 37 546 -9.6%
Common robbery 13 351 11 822 -11.5%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 71 509 62 195 -13.0%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 11 772 10 099 -14.2%
Shoplifting 14 533 12 308 -15.3%
Burglary at residential premises 51 737 42 834 -17.2%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 4 114 3 353 -18.5%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 28 458 22 697 -20.2%
Sexual offences discovered as result of police action 27 011 16 259 -39.8%
Bank robbery 0 0

Lockdown Corruption – The Reality

Corruption Watch, the civil society group,  has published its annual report for 2020.  The report highlights the rampant corruption which plagued the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. Aside from issues relating to procurement and the distribution of essential goods and services, there were shocking reports of police and SANDF brutality and abuse of power.  All of this led to Corruption Watch recording the second-highest number of corruption reports since 2012.

A total of 4,780 incidents of corruption were reported in 2020, forming part of the just under 33,000 reports of corruption received by the organisation since 2012. On average 11 complaints were received daily from across South Africa, using available online and digital platforms to highlight the ongoing acts of corruption in both the public and private sectors.

As is expected, the majority of reports came from Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.

“While it’s pleasing to report that most of Corruption Watch’s key campaigns have continued throughout the lockdown periods and the volume of reports received by us have increased, it is with anger and sadness that we also have to report that the corrupt took advantage of the public health crisis to loot the procurement necessitated by Covid and even stooped as low as to steal from the various relief programmes,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch.

The most frequent forms of corruption during the year were maladministration (17%), procurement corruption (16%) and fraud (15%).

This corruption included problems such as compliance issues, procurement irregularities, soliciting of kickbacks, and fraudulent activities in various state institutions, agencies and departments, as well as businesses.

11% of reports allege corruption in the South African Police Service, 6% point to corruption in schools, 4% refer to corruption in the health sector, and 3% point to corruption in the awarding of driver’s licenses.


Police and South African National Defence Force

Corruption Watch stated that 11% of reports it received alleged corruption in the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The most commonly reported type of corruption included dereliction of duty (29%), abuse of power (28%) and bribery (27%).

“The continued prominence of SAPS-related corruption reports can be attributed not only to the policing environment in the context of the Covid-19 National State of Disaster and lockdown regulations, but also to the Corruption Watch project that has for several years highlighted police abuse and mismanagement,” the group said.

“As a country, we continue to experience increasing levels of crime and corruption, which is aided and abetted by the very institutions that were set up to mitigate and combat these issues,” it said.

The group added that the SAPS is often described as the most corrupt institution in South Africa – citing the Global Corruption Barometer (2019) and the Corruption Watch’s Youth Perceptions survey (2020).

“Its apartheid-era culture of impunity, brutality and abuse of power has found its way into democratic South Africa, reducing public confidence in the police service and tarnishing the courageous efforts of those dedicated police officers who risk their lives daily to make our country a safer place.”


The Healthcare sector 

The group also received numerous reports relating to corruption in the health sector during 2020, with 149 of such cases received.

“The weakened healthcare system in South Africa has been a breeding ground for corruption for years,” it said.

“Under Covid-19, while visits to healthcare facilities may have been reduced, the cases of corruption featured in the Corruption Watch reports centred on procurement corruption, employment corruption, and fraud, counting for 21%, 15% and 11% respectively.”

The group however said that corruption in the healthcare sector has been brewing for years.

“Decades of misappropriation and theft of resources, procurement corruption, and bribery were exposed when our health facilities could not contend with the vast numbers of people needing treatment for Covid-19.”

Vosloorus man arrested for murder

A 32-year old man was arrested at his home in Vosloorus for the murder of his girlfriend and mother of his 2-year old son.  Captain Kay Makhubele said the man was arrested after collaborations between the police and community members.

The woman’s mother reported her missing on the 16th of January.  “The woman left Alexandra on the 10th of January to visit her boyfriend.  After she did not come back home, her boyfriend indicated that she left to [go] home but she did not arrive” Makhubele said.

Police followed up on information that led them to her car in Alberton.  The person found in possession of the victim’s car led the police to the boyfriend who allegedly sold the car to him.  Makhubele said the boyfriend admitted that he killed her and dumped her in an open space in Heidelberg.  The body of a woman was found in an open field and a case of murder was opened.

He is expected to appear in the Germiston Magistate’s Court.

Eastern Cape Gov Lays Down the Law

The South African Government’s Safer Festive Season initiative proved to be effective last week in the Eastern Cape and resulted in the arrests of over 1 000 people for a variety of crimes. This ahead of Police Minister Bheki Cele’s visit to the province, assessing compliance to the law by residents and businesses.

“Ahead of the annual Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour by the Minister of Police to the Eastern Cape to assess the effectiveness of Safer Festive Season plans put in place to ensure that residents and holiday makers are and feel safe during the holiday season and beyond, 693 rounds of ammunition and 72 firearms (49 revolvers/pistols, 15 rifles and 8 shotguns) were seized while 1 117 suspects were arrested for various crimes from 13 – 21 December 2020,” the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) Colonel  Sibongile Soci said in a statement.

Suspects arrested include 392 handcuffed for contact crimes, 54 for property related crimes, 234 for crimes detected as a result of police action such as drug-related crimes, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs and possession of suspected stolen property while many others were held for several other crimes, Soci also said.

Police have also managed to recover 189 dangerous weapons which includes 172 knives, 13 pangas and four axes. People were also arrested for livestock theft, which is a huge problem in the rural province, particularly during the festive season.

“Furthermore, the stock theft market was dealt a big blow with the recovery of 41 cattle, 22 goats and 19 sheep. 23 suspected stolen vehicles were also confiscated,” police said.

All the suspects have subsequently appeared before various courts while others were issued with summons to pay fines.

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga has commended the members for the arrests and confiscations.

“Eastern Cape has already rolled out the festive season operational plans which are directed into tightening the grip on trio crimes, stock theft, violent crime and the proliferation of unlicensed firearms as well as to see the general safety of all inhabitants throughout the Province. The arrests and confiscations are the results of those well-executed operational plans,” Ntshinga said.

Stolen Ford Ranger hidden in brooms

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga is looking for the driver of a truck following the discovery of a stolen Ford Ranger double cab bakkie hidden in a load of traditional brooms on a truck heading to Mozambique via the Lebombo border post.

Mpumalanga SAPS provincial spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli confirmed that the video of the white Ford Ranger, which has gone viral on social media platforms, occurred on Saturday afternoon.

“It is believed that the driver was intending to cross the border to Mozambique with the stolen car. According to [SAPS] reports, the police at the border were busy with their duties when they noticed a suspicious white truck with Mozambican registration number plates fully loaded with traditional brooms,” said Mdhluli.

“The car track company activated their system and picked up a signal pointing to the truck which led to the search and recovery of the car. The police appreciate the partnership that exists between the SAPS and the car track company which has resulted in the recovery of many vehicles,” he said.

“The driver [of the parked truck] was not available and members got information that he had gone to SARS [South African Revenue Service] offices to complete certain documents required when crossing the border with goods,” said Mdhluli.

“Members then went to look for him at the SARS offices but they could not find him and they began searching the truck. While removing the traditional brooms they [police officers] discovered a white Ford Ranger with false registration number plates.”

Police checks on the bakkie revealed that it was reported stolen at a garage in Sandton in Johannesburg in Gauteng on November 30.

“In the meantime, anyone with information that can assist police in the investigation should call 013-793-7382 / 013-793-7321 or Crime Stop number on 086-00-10111 or send information via MYSAPSAPP which can be downloaded to any smartphone. All information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous,” said Mdhluli.

SA’s Crime Stats Released

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Stats SA have published quarterly crime statistics for the second quarter of the 2020/21 period, covering all criminal activity reported between July and September 2020. The data shows a massive increase in criminal activity almost across the board when comparing numbers against the previous quarter (April to June 2020) – this is largely due to the previous quarter being during heightened lockdown.

Ongoing analysis and reports of crime during lockdown pointed to a massive reduction in criminal activity during the initial stages of lockdown, especially ‘hard’ lockdown (level 5) though unreported cases of GBV and domestic violence may have been higher.  This was seen in the 72% reduction in murders, and an 81% reduction in hijacking. Similar trends were seen in reported assaults, attempted murders, robbery and rape.

However, these trends reversed and slowly returned back to normal levels as lockdown was eased. By July, insurers and tracking companies had reported vehicle theft and hijacking numbers were back to their pre-lockdown levels. A better reflection of the crime situation in South Africa is comparing year-on-year numbers and the data shows that crime activity in South Africa is lower than a year ago, due to the country still being under some degree of lockdown.

Bheki Cele, the Police minister, said that the second quarter stats reflect “a South Africa operating under eased restrictions under the Disaster Management Act”. However, as restrictions ease and the country gets back to normal, the considerable drops in certain crime categories are expected to narrow.

SA crime stats for Q2 2020 (1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020)

Q1 vs Q2 Apr – Jun 2020 Jul – Sep 2020 Change
Contact Crimes 90 376 135 821 +50.3%
Contact-related Crimes 19 191 26991 +40.6%
Property-related Crimes 86 410 95516 +10.5%
Other Serious Crimes 266 495 352277 +32.2%
Total public reported 462 472 610 605 +32.0%
Crime detected as a result of police action 25 093 42121 +67.9%
Total 487 565 652 726 +33.9%

2019 vs 2020 Jul – Sep 2019 Jul – Sep 2020 Change
Contact Crimes 153 650 135 821 -11.6%
Contact-related Crimes 28 042 26 991 -3.7%
Property-related Crimes 117 539 95 516 -18.7%
Other Serious Crimes 407 303 352 277 -13.5%
Total public reported 706 534 610 605 -13.6%
Crime detected as a result of police action 78 779 42 121 -46.5%
Total 785 313 652 726 -16.9%
  • Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery.
  • Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious injury to property.
  • Other serious crimes include commercial crime, shop-lifting and all other types of theft – while aggravated robbery includes hijackings, robbery at residences and cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies.
  • Crimes detected as a result of police action cover crimes discovered by active policing, such as road-blocks and raids. Categories covered by this are the illegal possession of firearms, DUI or driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol); and the use, possession or trade of illegal drugs.

Crime categories

For Community reported crimes, robberies – be it of cash-in-transit or at residential premises – were some of the only crimes to see an increase over the period. Other crimes that also increased included  commercial crimes, carjacking, attempted murder – with only a single bank robbery reported.

Considerable reductions were noted in burglaries and theft out of vehicles, which usually take place when people are out of the home.

“As we approach the festive season, criminals are trying to make up for the time lost during the ‘crime holiday’ experienced in the first quarter of the financial year. This is demonstrated by the increase in the country’s most feared crimes, which are residential robberies.

“While many citizens are still working from home due to the Nationwide Lockdown, incidents of home invasions have increased by 8.5%. On the other hand, cases of business robberies have declined by the same percentage,” Cele said.

Cele said that an increase in cash in transit heists showed that criminals were attempting to catch up.

“It is clear armed gangs targeting cash vans, are becoming more desperate and ruthless as the year comes to a close. These criminals are stopping at nothing to carry out their criminal acts, often doing so in public spaces near innocent bystanders.”

Crimes as detected by police – particularly in driving under the influence, and drug-related crimes, saw the biggest drop.

Biggest increase to biggest decrease in crimes Q2 2020/21

Category Jul – Sep 2019 Jul – Sep 2020 Change
Bank Robbery 0 1 +1 case
Robbery of cash in transit 40 64 +60.0%
Truck hijacking 312 411 +31.7%
Robbery at residential premises 5 308 5 760 +8.5%
Commercial crime 21 518 21 978 +2.1%
Attempted murder 4 856 4 941 +1.8%
Carjacking 4 882 4 803 -1.6%
Malicious injury to property 26 985 26 005 -3.6%
Common assault 38 993 36 851 -5.5%
Burglary at non-residential premises 16 892 15 881 -6.0%
Murder 5 446 5 107 -6.2%
Arson 1 057 986 -6.7%
Stock-theft 7 878 7 339 -6.8%
Robbery at non-residential premises 5 394 4 937 -8.5%
Shoplifting 15 192 13 808 -9.1%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm 39 807 34 890 -12.4%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 37 617 32 745 -13.0%
Sexual Offences 13 730 11 423 -16.8%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 12 235 10 146 -17.1%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 71 362 58 154 -18.5%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 4 485 3 631 -19.0%
Burglary at residential premises 49 930 39 304 -21.3%
Common robbery 13 201 9 864 -25.3%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 30 586 22 846 -25.3%
Drug-related crime 45 682 29 094 -36.3%
Sexual offences discovered as result of police action 2 533 1 568 -38.1%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 26 079 7 828 -70.0%

Motorist shot Traffic Officer in Alberton

A 33-year-old Traffic Officer is in hospital after he was shot twice by a motorist.  Sello Maremane, spokesperson for the Traffic Department said the incident happened on Friday in Alberton.

The motorist was driving a red Audi and did not stop at a red traffic light. The traffic officer stopped the motorist and shot the officer.  The officer is in a stable condition in hospital.  No one was arrested and the police are investigating the incident.  A case of attempted murder was opened.

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