The M1 highway in Gauteng, South Africa, is currently closed to traffic in both directions between Xavier Street and Booysens Road. The closure comes after a shootout between armed suspects and police on Wednesday night.
Forensics teams from the South African Police Service (SAPS) are currently combing the scene for clues.
Xolani Fihla, spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, stated that traffic travelling on the M1 north is being diverted at Xavier Street, while traffic travelling on the M1 south is being diverted at Booysens Road. Motorists are advised to use alternative routes and be aware of the closures.
The incident started with an alleged cash-in-transit robbery in Springs earlier in the day. “The guards were disarmed and their vehicle bombed. SAPS and members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the Johannesburg Flying Squad traced the suspects at 20:20 on the M1 south just before the Booysens off-ramp – where the shootout ensued,” Mathe said.
The suspects then fled the scene and were pursued by SAPS and members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the Johannesburg Flying Squad.
The suspects were traced to the M1 south, just before the Booysens off-ramp, where the shootout ensued. During the exchange of gunfire, one police officer sustained a gunshot wound and is currently recovering in the hospital.
“A shootout ensued with the suspects who were travelling in a Toyota Quantum. One suspect was certified dead at the scene while two others were apprehended,” Mathe said.
The suspects were armed with three rifles and had cash and two cellphones in their possession. Additionally, two empty cash bags and implements used in armed robberies were found in their getaway vehicle.
A manhunt is currently underway for the remaining suspects. Lieutenant General Mosikili, speaking on behalf of the police, commended the officers involved in the operation and emphasized that the police force remains on high alert to tackle syndicates involved in serious and violent crimes.
Operation Shanela, which started on May 8, 2023, has already yielded significant results. In the past week alone, over 10,000 suspects have been arrested for various crimes, including murder and armed robberies. Since the operation’s inception, a total of 155,970 suspects have been apprehended.