Bloody, action-filled start to long Easter weekend

It is a bloody start to the Easter weekend for residents of one of Sebokeng’s newest suburbs, which is situated in southern Gauteng.

On the eve of Good Friday, residents of Golden Gardens woke up to a gun battle that seemed to last an eternity when the police cornered a suspected cash-in-transit syndicate in one of the houses situated on Theletsane Street.

Describing the events that unfolded as a scene from a movie, a neighbour from a few houses away said her family heard machine gunshots at about 5am.

“Drrrr, drrrr, drrrr,” she said, describing the sound the guns were making.

“Shot after shot … they sounded like they were shooting from just outside our house. Voices shouting, the sound of cars, it was scary” she said.

She said what followed when shooting had finally stopped after about an hour was like a scene from a crime movie.

“Police cars, detectives, forensics, the media. It was like a movie.

“Thank goodness it is school holidays. There would have been other casualties given the hive of activity in the morning with children going to school,” she said.

The young woman was describing the shock of residents of Golden Gate on Thursday when police raided a house in the area suspected to be used by cash-in-transit robbers who were preparing to hit another score.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police, who were acting on crime intelligence pointing to activities of cash-in-transit suspects who have been terrosing Gauteng in recent weeks, pounced on the suspected criminals in an early dawn raid.

The criminals, said Cele, opened fire on the police. The police returned fire and a gun battle ensued. Eight suspects were shot dead in different parts of the area, with the majority shot in a house believed to be owned by a parolee.

Golden Gardens comprises families who have made the Emfuleni suburb their home for less than 10 years; new homeowners who had just moved in a few months ago; newly built empty homes yet to be occupied; homes under construction and empty unmaintained stands.

One of the residents who was looking forward to the ZCC pilgrimage as it will be the first time they gather since the Covid-19 outbreak said the incident has left her shattered, as she is now afraid to leave her children alone.

“We usually go with the children to the pilgrimage, but we decided to leave them this year. What we witnessed today is tragic,” she said.

She said fortunately her children were sleeping when the shootout unfolded, and they did not hear or see anything, except for his eldest child who was woken up by the gunshots.

While others were still in shock, some said what happened on Thursday morning has made them unite as a community, as everyone usually minds their own business in the area.

When Sunday World visited the area, three cars which were used by the robbers were still parked outside the house, a Nissan Juke, BMW X5 and
a VW Polo.

Another vehicle, a Mercedes Benz ML was inside the yard.

Cele told the media that all the vehicles were idling when the police arrived unnoticed.

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