Police arrest suspect who they allege is a crime mastermind in Khayelitsha

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A suspected crime mastermind, with alleged links to a spate of mass shootings in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, has been arrested and charged in Cape Town.  Police say 30-year-old Yanga Nyalara faces 31 charges including 18 counts of murder, attempted murder and drug dealing.

His arrest has been hailed as a breakthrough in the police’s fight against crime in the township.

Last month, police issued a R100 000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of Nyalara, who is also known as Bara. He was wanted for a spate of violent crimes in Khayelitsha, reportedly dating back to at least 2016.

On Monday, he faced multiple murder, attempted murder, drugs, and firearm-related charges in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

They included a mass murder incident in Khayelitsha over a bloody weekend in May last year, in which at least twelve people were killed.

“He also jumped the bail in the Eastern Cape, involved in the CIT (cash in transit), so looks like the guy is a man about town and I think the police have really done the good job, which I guess will take us some distance in trying to fight crime around this place,” says Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Cele says Nyalara’s arrest, in Bothasig over the weekend, may be a breakthrough in the extortion activity which has plagued the township of Khayelitsha and surrounding communities.

“He runs about eight taxis; he is a teacher by profession, 30 years, involved in the drug business, involved in CIT,” adds Cele.

Western Cape Police Commissioner Thembisile Patekile says the accused has decided to abandon bail.

“It is actually unfortunate that he abandoned bail because we would have wanted to oppose his release but it’s up to him, he has the right to apply at any time during this time but he chose not to.”

In June, four people were killed when a gunman opened fire in Khayelitsha: