Action Society praised a valiant effort by the Hoedspruit Farmwatch along with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Hoedspruit and The Hawks’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation members for apprehending various suspects involved in a G4S armoured vehicle heist on 20 September 2023.
The armed robbers attacked the escort vehicle, and a gunfight broke out, killing the passenger. The thugs then continued the attack on the armoured vehicle, eventually forcing them to stop. They chased the driver and crew into the bushes and got away with firearms and an undisclosed amount of money. The Hoedspruit Farmwatch was activated, and they spotted the suspects’ vehicles driving towards Acornhoek. The Farmwatch put obstacles on the road and forced their vehicles to stop. The suspects fired on the Farmwatch, who returned fire in self-defence, killing four of the suspects and wounding at least two others who fled from the scene. The Farmwatch used dogs and a chopper to follow the suspects who got away and caught two injured suspects attempting to flee in a taxi. Police and The Hawks’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation members were on the scene and seized firearms and some of the stolen money.
According to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society the Hoedspruit Farmwatch has highlighted why strong community safety structures are vital for a safer South Africa. “The ideal is that communities, police, and the private sector should work together in harmony. This case is the perfect example of what can happen when the community and the police join forces in the war against crime in South Africa. In this case private resources were crucial in bringing the thugs to justice. This model should be implemented in communities all over the country.