Ok, maybe it's worth risking the odd innocent life if it means we can snuff out seven criminals in one go (hopefully the one innocent life isn't one of us, that is). Count them. That's seven sacks of shit that will never harm another human being again. That's seven sacks of shit that won't cost the taxpayer a dime other than to bury them in a cardboard box. That's seven messages sent to criminals that the days of acting with impunity is over. A good haul. Bottoms up folks.
'Here we shoot to kill'
Polokwane - Seven armed men were shot dead by police in a hail of bullets at a security company's cash depot on Sunday morning, after police received a tip-off about the planned robbery.
After the shootout, more than 30 shells lay scattered at the Protea Coin security group's cash depot in an industrial area of Polokwane.
The bloodied bodies of four of the armed men lay outside the entrance, while three other bodies lay inside the building.
No members of the police or the public were injured in the shootout, and no money was stolen.
'This is a warning'
On Sunday the Polokwane police were ordered by Bheki Cele, national chief of police, to refrain from revealing information about the incident.
Cele said in an official statement that the police had simply reacted to a distress call. However, Beeld has heard from more than one source that the police had received a tip-off on Saturday night, and a special task force was given the order to "get ready".
In the statement Cele says: "Our Saps members have prevailed yet again. They were ready to strike in the early morning hours.
"People often forget that it might just as well have been members of the police force who were shot and killed," said Cele.
"This is a warning. Anyone who attempts to challenge the police will lose."
"With the festive season upon us, we are bound to see more people try their luck. But we are ready ensure that our people are not held to ransom by criminals and violent thugs."
A detective believed to have been involved in the shootout, told Beeld at the scene: "The thugs must know this is Limpopo. Here we shoot to kill."
The police opened fire on the men with heavy calibre firearms and pistols. Three 9mm pistols were found in the robbers' possession.
The seven men struck at the cash depot on Sunday morning at about 00:30. Security cameras and lights at the building's main entrance were shot out.
Apparently the men had been wearing gloves and balaclavas, and had angle grinders with them. Some of the building's burglar bars were sawn off, and there was evidence of tampering with the alarm system.
The Protea Coin group's Petrus van Niekerk said security guards, who had been hiding in another part of the building, phoned the police when they heard the shots as the men were destroying the cameras.
"The police reacted in a flash," said Van Niekerk.
People who live across the road from the depot, on the corner of Nikkel and Sapphire streets, said they had hidden under their beds during the shootout.
Hardwick Ramogale said: "It sounded like 100 shots."
'It felt like we were in Baghdad'
A friend of his said he peeked through a window, "but every time a shot went off, I fell to the floor. It felt like we were in Baghdad."
Saps spokespeople and members in Limpopo have been forbidden from talking about the incident. All inquiries were referred to Cele's office.
Van Niekerk said they are very grateful that the robbery was foiled, and that no Saps members or security guards were injured. The company has already launched an independent investigation into the incident.
Members of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) were at the scene, and are investigating the shootout. - Beeld