‘Holistic approach needed to tackle crisis of cash-in-transit heists'

The police portfolio committee, Police Minister Bekhi Cele and numerous other role-players are meeting on Wednesday.

Parliament’s police portfolio committee and other stakeholders linked to the cash handling industry meet on Wednesday 13 June 2018 to discuss ways to combat the increasing cash-in-transit heists in SA. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police management and private sector players linked to the cash handling industry will have to answer tough questions pertaining to the seemingly out of control cash-in-transit-heist crisis.

The police portfolio committee, Police Minister Bekhi Cele and numerous other role-players are meeting on Wednesday.

The meeting is focusing on areas including the intelligence and operational readiness of the police, as well as the relationship between the SAPS and private security industry.

The latest figures suggest there've been close to 150 cash-in-transit heists since the start of 2018 alone.

The South African Police Service says Gauteng, the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have been identified as the provinces most affected by cash-in-transit-heists.

Committee chairman Francois Beukman says a sustainable plan is needed to deal with it.

“We must have a sustainable plan to deal with it and from security companies, we also need to know from their side what are they going to do to address the inside involvement of security guards in this current situation but also improve the security of their members and their vehicles.”

Police, trade unions and private security industry representatives agree a holistic approach is needed to tackle the problem head-on.

One recommendation by the South African Reserve Bank is that research capabilities be expanded to look at devices and technology that would render banknotes obtained during robberies unusable.

The private security industry regulatory authority says areas which can be looked into include enhanced training standards and the improvement of cooperation between these companies and state law enforcement agencies.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions has raised concerns about working conditions and training for employees in the security industry who are faced with the dangers of cash-in-transit robberies.

The National Freedom Party's Manzoor Shaikh-Imam says it's crucial that all role players work together to tackle the problem.

“Despite assurance by many of the role players, they are all working in silos. And as long they work in silos we can’t resolve the matter. We are calling for them to work in a coordinated fashion [and] put together their expertise [and] their knowledge together so that we would be able to identify the challenges and find solutions.”

The Motor Transport Union's general secretary Dumiseni Mabaso says their concerns include the vulnerability of their members against armed criminals who operate in large numbers.

“I think it’s time that we regulate. It’s time that we view this job as a very important job which carries risk to the South African citizens.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)