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The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) should immediately increase security services at all its paypoints, community safety MEC Dan Plato said on Sunday.
This was after a Sassa paypoint situated inside a Shoprite store in Bishop Lavis, in the Western Cape, was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday morning.
“This is not the first time that a Sassa payout point has been attacked by criminals, which indicates that criminals have clearly identified the payout points as easy targets,” said Plato.
He called on Sassa to work with the police to assess where security was an issue and ensure the safety of those coming to collect their payouts.
“Our communities' most vulnerable are those lining up to receive their monthly payouts, and when a payout point is shut down due to a shooting; those that are in most desperate need of the funds are left without food on the table until the payout point is re-opened,” said Plato.
He said police officers, armed only with batons, were defenceless against the group of heavily armed robbers who attacked the Sassa paypoint.
Seven of the alleged robbers were arrested following a shootout with police.
An eighth suspect was found fatally wounded at the back of the group's getaway vehicle.
“Cases of armed robbery, attempted murder, inquest, malicious damage to property and possession of illegal firearms and ammunition was opened for investigation,” said Constable Lorencial Johnson. - Sapa