EASTERN CAPE – Eastern Cape SAPS concerted efforts to nip in the bud proliferation of dangerous and illegal weapons, firearms and ammunition was given a positive boost where 20 illegal firearms, one (1) R5 assault rifles, one (1) homemade firearm, 24 magazines, 156 rounds of ammunition as well as commercial explosives were removed from illegal hands in just 10 weeks.
Illegal firearms and ammunition were removed from the hands of criminals. Illegal firearms are mostly used in the commission of crime like armed robbery, murder and attack on innocent people including police.
Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Ntshinga assembled a high caliber team to conduct operations in Baziya, Bityi, Mthatha, Qumbu and Libode in an effort to fight illegal possession of firearms and ammunition between June and August 2019, resulting in the following successes.
Two male suspects aged 45 and 56 years from Bhaziya and Upper Tabase, Mthatha were arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition namely, a Luger 9mm with 14 rounds and three magazines. Fourteen male suspects were arrested and charged for explosives, possession of illegal /unlicensed firearms, ammunition, murder, armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and theft.
Thembekile Mhala aged 68 years of Mathambo locality and Xhongorha, Bityi were arrested for illegal possession of prohibited firearms, namely, a semi-automatic rifle, R5, 9mm pistol, three (3) R5 magazines with 64 rounds of ammunition and four (4) empty 9mm pistol magazines.
Members conducted Vehicle Checkpoint at Bityi and Gxulu area during June 2019 where they recovered an R5 assault rifle, three (3) magazines and CZ 9mm pistol both licensed to a deceased who died in 2017. The wife of the deceased, will determine the curatorship and future custody of the firearms.
A second address also at Gxulu was searched after information about explosives was received. Upon arrival members arrested a male suspect, Bongile Mnyamana, aged 38 years for illegal possession of explosives which includes the following, blasting commercial ignitor cord/cable, detonators and blasting cartridges as well as three swiping machines.
A wanted suspect, Siphamandla Gomane aged 27 was arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition after he was found with one (1) magazine and four (4) 9mm pistol rounds on 18 July 2019.
On the same operation, another suspect, Asanda Bhala aged 29 was arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition, namely a Norincho 9mm pistol with one Magazine with three (3) rounds of ammunition on 19 July 2019.
Another wanted suspect, Sonwabile Makhehle Jojo aged 27 who was involved in a previous case of business robbery that happened in Mount Frere in May 2019 was also arrested on 05 July 2019. Siphamandla Gomane and Sonwabile Makhehle Jojo, also wanted suspects on Mount Frere case of business robbery that was committed in June 2019 where one person was murdered were also arrested. Siphamandla Gomane was also linked to Sulenkama September 2018 where a firearm was stolen.
Police members received information about three men with firearms from Sabe and Bityi area driving a white Nissan NP200 going to commit a truck offloading theft at Mthentu cuttings as the trucks drive very slowly on the uphill in June 2019. Police tried to intercept them but later discovered they abandoned their vehicle and hitchhiked.
Nywarhu community tipped the police about two looking suspicious males in a vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle two African males were found in possession of illegal firearms namely, three 9mm pistol and 16 rounds of ammunition.
They were arrested and charged for possession of one unlicensed firearms. The suspect, Zubenathi Cosa aged 23 is from Mazizini location, Xhongorha administrative.
A 25 year old suspect, Ntandazo Ngalo of Khonqeni, Bityi was also arrested for possession of prohibited firearm and 5 rounds of ammunition on 13 July 2019. Lindikhaya Ndzolo, aged 36 of Dikidiki location, Tabase was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm after he was found in possession of a Z88 with 19 rounds of ammunition in July 2019.
Another suspect, Sivuyile Ndzolo aged 26 of Dikidiki location in Tabase was also arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms, a Norinco 9mm pistol with one magazine loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition also on the same day.
One male suspect aged 28 years from Krelegwini locality, Bityi, was arrested for possession of a prohibited firearms with 8 rounds of ammunition in June 2019
Information was received about a wanted suspect linked to a recent business robbery at Boxer Store in Willowvale and apprehended near Mthatha Shell Ultra City garage and arrested early July 2019.
Information was received from Bityi regarding an Ethiopian Male who was murdered at Nakufa, Lusikisiki. Three suspects were questioned and later released. During the operation, one homemade firearm was recovered and no arrest was effected.
One male suspect aged 22 was arrested for possession of a prohibited firearm, a Petro Beretta 9mm pistol with erased serial number and one (1) x9mm magazine with 14 rounds of live ammunition at Bityi in June 2019.
Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga welcomed the breakthrough and success by the deployment. “We are elated as we know that any spike in aggravated crimes like armed robbery, vehicle hijack, murder and stock theft is committed with these illegal firearms. One firearm removed from the cruel and illegal hands of criminals takes us close to the vision of ensuring that our people in the province are and feel safe. I will not disband this hardworking team because it gives me results I want. Instead I will supplement it with more members, support and resources to make Eastern Cape safer again”, said Lt Gen Ntshinga.
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