Civic organisations and community members have expressed shock at the spate of cash-in-transit heists reported in and around Thohoyandou in Limpopo over the last few days. Several incidents of cash-in-transit heights and robberies have been recorded in areas such as Tshakhuma, Nzhelele and Thohoyandou in the space of 10 days.
Police are still searching for the suspects. Thohoyandou is a town besieged by brazen and fearless criminals.
In one of the incidents this week, a group of armed robbers was captured on cellphone footage making way with an unspecified amount of money.
They shot and wounded two guards who were transfusing cash into ATMs. President of crime fighting non-governmental organisation, South African Youth Against Crime, Richard Ramabulana, says it is worrying that the incident happened close to the Thohoyandou police station.
“We are not safe here particularly considering that the heists that happening are happening consistently. It tells you that we don’t have police intelligence, the incident happened just behind me, it is not far from the police station, just 100 metres away. On the month of May, it happened twice in Tshakhuma and Nzhelele, Thavhani Mall and here also we feel that police are not doing enough.”
Residents fear for their lives
Just over a week ago, another cash-in-transit heist took place near Tshakhuma village. A cash-in-transit vehicle enroute to Thohoyandou was violently intercepted along the R524.
A local resident, who is a taxi driver, Justice Rasimpi, says they now live in fear.
“I am a taxi driver I can tell that passengers are now afraid to go to Thohoyandou even when they see a cash-in-transit vehicle they want to tun away. they are always in fear.
Another resident, Tshinyadzo Madou, says she is scared of going shopping.
“I have not gone to shopping in a while because I am afraid to go. I can’t even go to the bank what if we I get shot.”
Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by a stray bullet during a cash-in-transit robbery in Elim near Thohoyandou. Limpopo police say they are aware of the escalating crime situation and they have a plan to deal with it.