There was mayhem in Macassar yesterday when brazen skelms armed with AK-47 rifles tried to rob a cash van.
A police officer and a security guard were wounded during the foiled robbery after the skelms opened fire in full view of the public at a busy shopping centre.
Following a high-speed chase, cops managed to nab three of the skelms in Stellenbosch.
According to eyewitnesses, four men armed with AK-47s approached the SBV cash van parked at the front entrance of the Macassar Shopping Centre just before noon.
Shortly afterwards, loud gunshots rang out at the centre, and panicked shoppers and workers ran for cover.
However, police arrived on the scene quickly and the skelms fled.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo says: “Police reinforcements comprising of local police, TRT and air support responded immediately, foiling the robbery, but a chase and a shootout ensued, creating multiple scenes between Macassar, Mfuleni and Stellenbosch in which a 39-year-old sergeant from SAPS was wounded.”
He says three of the suspects were arrested at the Kayamandi taxi rank in Stellenbosch and five firearms, including three AK-47s, were seized.
A male employee of one of the stores in the centre said: “There were first three shots and people ran in different directions.
“Some ran outside away from the shops, some ran towards Shoprite and some ran into the shops.
“From where I was standing, I could see the guys go to the van and one of them hit one of the drivers with a gun over his head.”
A source on the scene who works for SBV confirmed that one of their drivers was pistol-whipped.
Multiple videos circulated of the incident which show people cowering in stores as gunshots and screams echo through the centre.
In one video, three armed men attack the cash van.
When the Daily Voice visited the scene, yellow police tape surrounded the van which had a bullet hole in the driver’s window while a forensic team investigated the scene where the cop was shot.
A 16-year-old boy says the skelms got into two cars, a silver Audi and a gold Toyota Fortuner, and during their escape, they fired shots at a parked police vehicle.
“We just heard dwa! dwa! a paar times, and then the cop fell out of the car. He was shot in the neck and was just lying there when the cars drove away.”
Brigadier Naidoo confirmed that the vehicles used were hijacked at the scene.
SBV did not respond to queries.