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JOHANNESBURG - “There has been a significant 49% increase in Cash in Transit attacks for the first eight months of 2017 when compared to the same period last year,” said the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kalyani Pillay. 

Pillay said heists were no longer confined to urban areas only but also occur in rural towns across South Africa.  The provinces that experienced the highest increases in the past eight months were Western Cape followed by North West and Gauteng.  

SABRIC was working closely with Fidelity and other CIT companies and law enforcement officials to analyse the crime risk information and jointly come up with strategies and risk mitigation measures to collectively deal with this crisis.

Wahl Bartmann, Fidelity Group CEO confirmed that just last week eight to ten armed suspects had gained access to the Fidelity Vryheid depot making off with millions of Rands. This week he confirmed there were a further two incidents, one in Brits and one in the Free State, but both were fortunately unsuccessful. 

“Unfortunately we have seen a spike in Cash in Transit heists across the country this year and these incidents exacerbate an already dire situation of attacks on Cash in Transit vehicles and staff,” said Bartmann.

According to stats compiled by SABRIC between January 1 and August 31, there have been 232 incidents across the industry involving various modus operandi, cross-pavement attacks being the most prevalent.

“We know that syndicates perpetrating these kinds of crimes are highly skilled and organised. We are constantly evolving our technology and changing our procedures to ensure we stay one step ahead of the criminals”.

Read also: Cash-in-transit 'high on criminal agenda'

“Unfortunately the increase in crime, coupled with high unemployment is impacting on the number of robberies and heists. We have also seen a move from urban areas, where we have clamped down quite substantially, to the more outlying areas as evidenced by Friday’s attack,” said Bartmann.

Bartmann said consumers to stay alert, particularly as they move towards the festive season where heists of this nature typically spike even further. “We know wherever there is money there is risk and this risk does escalate at certain times of the month and typically during the latter half of the year”.