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Police announce drop in mall robberies

Nearly 400 people have been arrested nationally in connection with robberies at shopping centres this year.

FILE: Nearly 400 people have been arrested nationally in connection with robberies at shopping centres this year. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega has announced a decline in shopping centre robberies around the country.

She said the arrest of 30 gang members in the Western Cape and Gauteng led to a big drop in mall robberies.

Phiyega added in total nearly 400 people have been apprehended nationally in connection with robberies at shopping centres this year.

The commissioner said partnerships with organisations like Business Against Crime and mall management has contributed to a decline in mall robberies and said key arrests have also helped.

"More than 30 people, belonging to three different gangs, allegedly involved in mall robberies, both in the Western Cape and Gauteng have been arrested."

#sapsHQ #Phiyega - more than 30 people belonging to 3 gangs have been arrested by task team for #MallRobberies & are appearing in court SD

Acting Western Cape Police Commissioner, Thembisile Phatekile, said although there has been significant decrease in mall robberies, isolated incidents still occur.

POLICE'S TOP BRASS SHAMED

The police's top brass have been publicly shamed in Parliament for closing ranks around Phiyega.

Angry Members of Parliament (MPs) said the country's provincial commissioners crossed into the realm of politics when they pledged support for Phiyega after the Marikana Commission recommended an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

The commissioners were summoned to explain themselves to the Police Portfolio Committee today.

MPs across the political spectrum laid into the police's senior management.

Portfolio Committee Chairperson Francois Beukman accused the officials of crossing the line.

"Leave the politics for the politicians."

One by one, the eight commissioners had to apologise to the committee and the president.

"On behalf of the province I come from, I would also like to apologise to the committee. Thank you."

South African Police Services (Saps) officials told MPs they issued the controversial statement to clarify perceptions about instability and disunity in the police service.

They maintain Phiyega did not sign off on the document, even though she chaired a meeting when the issue was discussed.

Officials claim she did not participate in the discussions.