Military trained syndicates behind cash-in-transit heists in SA

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Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- There has been a surge of cash-in-transit heists in South Africa, with a total of 135 robberies having occurred since January this year alone.

Crime activist Yusuf Abramjee on Wednesday said that these heists have skyrocketed by 100% over the past year in South Africa.

“There’s no doubt that there has been a 100% increase year on year from the figures that I have seen from last year to this year. These are organized gangs, they strike with military precision, they are daring, they are dangerous and almost every day a vehicle gets hit, the G4s has been the hardest hit so far. Most of the robberies that we have seen. Every day, we have more and more robberies. If nothing is being done, we will have more problems,” he said.

Concerns have been expressed about a spate of robberies that have taken place recently.

In the latest incident, a young woman was hit by a stray bullet during another cash -in transit heist at Jabulani Mall on Monday morning.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant Lungelo Dlamini said a group of unidentified men robbed a G4S van of an undisclosed amount of money.

“The woman was wounded on the upper body after a group of men opened fire and took an undisclosed amount of money. The suspects are still at large,” he said.

Police are still on the lookout for eight men who were involved in another robbery in Southdale in Gauteng on Monday.

Abramjee said that law enforcement agencies and the cash in transit sector should invest in technology and security to reduce these robberies.

“These cash vans have become vulnerable, I don’t think enough is being done to stop these robberies by both the police and the cash in transit industry and this is very concerning. It’s almost a free for all. The police need to get their act together, they need a special unit to stop these cash in transit heists. The cash in transit industry need to beef up security, they need to make sure that they have a technology, they should use technology. The members of the public need to blow the whistle on these criminals. Millions and millions are getting stolen, people are getting killed and the arrest rate is very low,” he said.

Experts said it was clear that gangs behind the robberies had military training.

“They act with military precision, there could either be soldiers or former soldiers. They could be from neighboring countries. What is worrying is that we have some police officers being arrested. When policemen get involved in crime, we have serious problems. Police need to beef up crime intelligence. Years ago, when crime intelligence was effective, we saw very few cash heists, but once crime intelligence became embroiled in politics, robberies went up. They need to invest more time and money in training guards. Some companies only train their guards for a week or two. SBV security is the only company that trains their guards for up to seven weeks. We need to use technology,” Abramjee said.

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