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CASH-In-Transit guards embarked on a major march on Tuesday, shutting down Johannesburg’s central business district as they bemoaned the increase in attacks on their vehicles.
They handed over a memorandum demanding safer working conditions to government and their bosses.
Majority of their placards had one message: “Enough is enough.”
The guards said failure to provide them with safe working conditions would see South African ATMs not having money.
Their memorandum was addressed to the ministries of police‚ justice and transport‚ the metro police‚ the South African Reserve Bank and cash-in-transit companies.
Protest leader‚ Mdumiseni Mabaso called on the South African Police Services to be more visible and called for firearm regulations to be amended to allow guards to carry higher calibre weapons.
A security officer at Fidelity Cash Solutions‚ Andisa Mzingayi called on government to do something about their safety.
The protest came as the country grapples with a surge in heists. Criminal syndicates behind the robberies were now using commercial explosives to attack cash vans.
According to Dr Hennie Lochner from the University of South Africa (Unisa), and a former police detective on cash-in-transit, criminal gangs take between five to 15 months to plan their attacks.
“There’s an increase in the use of explosives during attacks. Look at the Boksburg heist where those two vans were blown up. The gangs are prepared to shoot anyone who stands in their way. These people are professional robbers, they sit on top in the hierarchy of criminals. Gang members are recruited because of their expertise and because of their previous cash-in-transit experience,” Lochner said.
The criminals have also become brazen and use military and mining explosives to commit their crimes.
Kalyani Pillay CEO at the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said the syndicates work in large groups. He added that they have access to automatic riffles.
“The perpetrators are large syndicates of between 10 and 15 members involved in an attack. The perpetrators are in possession of commercial explosives as well as automatic and semi-automatic weapons. They also use luxury high-performance vehicles to assist in stopping the armoured vehicles and aiding their getaway. They also seem to be in possession of information to support their planning,” Pillay said.