Three members of a suspected cash-in-transit heist gang were shot dead and eight others were arrested near the Huguenot Tunnel in the Western Cape, the Hawks confirmed on Wednesday.
The gang, who was suspected of being involved in multiple heists in the Eastern Cape, had been travelling on the N1 near Paarl towards Cape Town when they were intercepted on Tuesday afternoon, said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase.
After receiving a tip-off, a team was assembled with members from the Hawks' National Priority Violent Crimes Unit, Crime Intelligence, the Special Task Force and the National Intervention Unit, he said.
The Hawks, in conjunction with specialised law enforcement agencies, intercepted a taxi heading towards Cape Town on the N1 from Paarl on Tuesday afternoon.
The taxi was transporting suspects allegedly involved in multiple cash-in-transit heists in the Eastern Cape.
"The occupants of the taxi allegedly fired at the team and the police returned fire," said Hawks spokesperson Lt-Col Philani Nkwalase.
Six suspects were arrested unharmed and two were injured. Three others were killed.
An undisclosed amount of money was seized, and the remaining suspects face charges of attempted murder and possession of suspected stolen property.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating the fatal shooting of the three suspects.