- Gauteng Hawks Boss says Batswana assisted with explosives expertise
- Says hunting down Batswana delayed investigations
Two Batswana involved in some of the most daring cash-in-transit (CIT) heists in South Africa have been identified as Thato “The Bomber” Gaopatwe and Calvin “Boze” Molete. They are alleged to have played a pivotal role in the recent spate of violent robberies that have plagued South African CIT operators over the course of the year by providing rare explosives expertise to a syndicate that was responsible for a large portion of the crimes, according to Gauteng police.
The two are currently facing trial with others in the R46-million heists case whose investigations cut across the region.
The duo has been arrested with six others, “through a combination of old-fashioned detective work including the identification of prisoners and suspects who had recently been paroled or given bail using hi-tech techniques such as cellphone tracking,” according to a report from the Sunday Times.
Gauteng Hawks Boss, Major-General Prince Mokotedi was quoted in the South African media saying, “We have the who’s who of masterminds here,” he said of the suspects who include Sello “The Teacher” Senyatsi, Thato “The Bomber” Gaopatwe, Tauyaborwa “Spikiri” Machika, Collen “Jabu” Mmamadi, Calvin “Boze” Molete, Paul “The Patriarch” Sibande, and Stanford “Madam” Dihangoane.
Mokotedi is further quoted as saying, “It’s been a massive task, especially in identifying the foreigners involved such as those from Botswana, who are the explosives experts, and the Zimbabwean.”
The accused appeared in courts across Gauteng last-week but were not asked to plead.
The Hawks have also named their most wanted as Wellington “Bibi” Cenenda from Tembisa on the East Rand whose gangs have netted R46-million from raids including the double cash-van bombing in Boksburg on May 17.
The various heists were carried out throughout South Africa’s northernmost provinces specifically Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Gaopatwe was betrayed by his suspiciously lavish lifestyle which he openly shared on his Facebook page.
It is not yet known whether the two are the only Batswana involved and their knowledge of explosives is yet to be ascertained. In 2013, Gaopatwe was granted bail with three men accused of robbing Gantsi Beef Butchery of cash amounting to P600 and four cellphones. At that time he was working with Lawrence Dintle, Tshepo Mokokwe, Moses Tankomane.
Gaopatwe is not new to robberies. In 2011, the 30 year-old Gaopatwe escaped from custody while detained from Mogoditshane police station. Botswana Police Spokesperson Near Bagali said he was not yet in a position to speak on the matter as he was out of the office.