Calls made for concerted effort to end scourge of cash in transit heists

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The cash in transit industry is calling for a concerted effort to end the scourge of cash in transit heists in South Africa. The Cash In Transit Association of South Africa says despite some remarkable decrease of such robberies since 2017, 260 cash in transits incidents have occurred over the past 12 months. 12 guards and an undisclosed number of civilians have lost lives as a result.

The entity is responsible for between 80 000 to a 100 000 cash collections and drop offs daily countrywide. This happens despite numerous armed robberies that resulted in close to twenty fatalities of the cash in transit guards. Numerous civilians were caught in crossfire. Some succumbed to injuries while others escaped to share their experiences.

Thirty-year-old Gummy Malou has been with the industry for over five years. He’s one of the drivers responsible for cash deliveries. This father of three has survived a cash in transit robbery just a year ago.

“I am doing this job for six years now, but the challenges are obviously robberies. We risk our lives everyday trying to provide for our families. A year ago, I survived an attempt. No life was lost, no cash was stolen. We won the fight. But still attempt it’s an attempt.”

For Gummy and his colleagues, the job has become more dangerous and unbearable. Each time he starts his day of cash delivery, he thinks of colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty. But he has little choice but to remain brave to put bread on the table for his family.

“No one of us is sure we are coming back tonight. All we do we pray to God and be vigilant. Marious Venter died in cash in transit in Orange Farm this year. He was a very close friend of mine. We worked together every single day. William Mashobane is a young man who was killed in Mamelodi. And specifically those two people, we worked hand-in-hand. We were friends and we had conversations and like, we always do in the morning and few hours later, you heard that they are no longer with us.”

Grant Clack, Cash In Transit Association’s Spokesperson says these rampant attacks is a cause for concern. He told the media in Pretoria that the criminals are always planning against industry operators, especially as the festive season is getting closer.

“The incidents increased again and as we went into the lockdown, it gave the criminals time to do re-planning. Although investigated, they, unfortunately, came with all the force. They have no regard for life. The incidents increased drastically. And with a month to go before festive, we are sitting with 260 incidents. It is extremely concerning and we are working together.”

The industry says it is working with the law enforcement agencies including the police to root out the cash in transit robberies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.