Private security company G4S Cash Solutions has called for the minister of police to convene an urgent meeting with all stakeholders to address the continuing escalation of violence in Cash-in-Transit (CIT) attacks.
This follows a cross pavement CIT attack that occurred in Durban at approximately 13h30 on Monday, 25 April, where four perpetrators opened fire on three G4S officers, resulting in the tragic murder of one of the guards. Another guard sustained a serious injury and was airlifted to a nearby private hospital where he is in critical condition.
Renso Smit, regional cluster director for G4S Southern Africa, said: “We are devastated at this tragic and senseless loss, and have conveyed our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. This loss of life is especially senseless since all of our cross pavement devices are equipped with technology that renders 100% of the cash unusable when forced open. Our message to would-be criminals is clear – don’t bother attacking our teams because you will get away with nothing of value.
G4S said it invests significantly, and on an ongoing basis, in equipping its guards with all the training, resources, equipment and tactical support they require for protection.
“These are not ordinary criminals; they are well-organised, cold-blooded murderers whose indiscriminate use of weapons continues to take lives and destroy families. The country and the entire private security industry cannot afford to lose more guards to these brutal attacks, and we are therefore calling on the minister of police to take urgent action.
“To tackle CIT attacks, we believe it’s essential that this sort of crime is prioritised; that the CIT task team under the SAPS be reconstituted and bolstered as a matter of urgency, and that the sector works closely with law enforcement and government to tackle this scourge together.
“There are not enough prosecutions and convictions to deter these criminals, who are operating with impunity. We are therefore calling on Crime Intelligence, SAPS, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority and the Ministers who lead them, to prioritise CIT crime,” said Smit.
Data from the South African Police Service shows South Africa reported 60 cash-in-transit heists in the last three months of 2021 alone.
Go cashless – and hit harder
One way that South Africa could reduce its climate of hijackings, robberies and unlawful syndicates is to promote a move away from cash, says Warren Myers, chief executive of on-demand security and medical response platform AURA.
“As criminals become smarter, and rates of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and corporate crime rise, we need to change our approach to how we deal with them. Crime often functions as a business, and, like any business, it evolves and becomes more sophisticated, and sophisticated crime needs sophisticated solutions,” he said.
“For this, partnerships and collaboration between security companies, corporates, the community and the police are key, and innovations in technology are making this possible.”
Digital payment apps and mobile wallets are creating a society where there is less physical cash moving around, which will eventually eradicate a lot of our crime issues as adoption of this technology grows, he said.
Another way technology is tackling the crime problem is by improving response capabilities when incidents do happen. Myers argues that it isn’t enough to send just one responder to deal with syndicate-related crimes when they happen, as ‘the good guys need to come in stronger and harder’.
“With multiple responders closing in on a crime scene within 5-6 minutes and positioned at the location’s exit routes, a situation can quickly be neutralised. When all the good guys come together as a team, using the right technology, it is far more difficult for the bad guys to get away with unlawful and often violent activities, and makes it riskier for them to attempt these crimes in the future.”
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said that leaving South Africa to go to a safer country is not the solution. “We need to join hands and work together to wipe out the crime so we can stay in this country, our home.”