One of South Africa’s most wanted cash-in-transit heist kingpins‚ Wellington “Bibi” Cenenda‚ has been arrested.
Linked to at least 23 heists across Gauteng‚ Mpumalanga‚ North West Province and Limpopo‚ Cenenda‚ 38‚ and his gangs allegedly made off with R46m over the past two years.
Sources have confirmed to TimesLIVE that Cenenda was arrested in a stolen car outside a shopping mall in Bloemfontein on Thursday night.
“We have got him‚” said a police source with knowledge of the bust.
“He made a stupid mistake. Police officers from Bloemfontein were on patrol when they spotted a car that they became suspicious of. They stopped the car‚ which was stolen‚ and while questioning the driver they realised that it was Bibi.”
Cenenda’s arrest follows the Hawks catching 23 of his alleged gang members in a series of raids across Gauteng earlier this month. Among the 23 who were caught was Errol Velile Present‚ who worked at ANC headquarters Luthuli House and was the party’s Dobsonville branch secretary.
A second police source said that Cenenda was likely to be taken to court on Friday.
He said the Hawks‚ which have been tracking Cenenda‚ were immediately despatched to Bloemfontein and had taken him into custody.
“He will appear in the Kriel Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga on charges of murder‚ attempted murder‚ armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms.”
Hawks spokesman‚ Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi‚ confirmed Cenenda’s arrest and said the crimes he was arrested for related to crimes he allegedly committed in 2016.
“Cenenda will appear in court today‚” he added.
“We catch [Cenenda] and we end it all‚” Gauteng Hawks boss Major-General Prince Mokotedi told the Sunday Times in an interview published on July 15.
“He is the key to these heists in the old Transvaal [Gauteng‚ North West‚ Limpopo and Mpumalanga].”
Cenenda had previously narrowly escaped raids on his hideout in Tembisa‚ Gauteng‚ and a safe house in Tzaneen‚ Limpopo.
Cenenda’s gang was allegedly behind the double cash-van bombing in Boksburg on May 17.
“For months‚ the team tracking Cenenda’s gang have worked out of a tiny room in downtown Johannesburg. Backed by crime intelligence agents‚ cybercrime experts‚ forensic analysts and detectives‚ they have gathered cellphone records‚ bank statements‚ title deeds and data on vehicles and firearms‚” reported the Sunday Times.
Graeme Hosken – TimesLIVE