The Liberty Promenade Mall in Mitchells Plain. Photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - A cash van security guard was shot dead and another injured during a cash-in-transit heist on Saturday at Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre in Mitchells Plain.

The pair were about to refill an ATM with cash early on Saturday when two suspects held them up at gunpoint, according to police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk.

“Both security guards were shot. One is deceased and one was taken to a nearby hospital,” he said.

The attackers fled the scene in a white Audi with cash bags containing an undisclosed sum of cash, according to Van Wyk.

Unconfirmed reports later on Saturday were that the car and the empty cash bags had been found abandoned in Browns Farm.

Ambulance services said the injured man had been taken to the Netcare N1 City Hospital.

Fuzlin Sinclair, operational services manager for the shopping centre, confirmed the cash heist. She said the injured security guard was in a stable condition in hospital.

Sinclair said the shooting occurred at entrance three of the shopping centre at about 8.06am, as the security guards were about to restock the ATMs with cash. The centre had not yet officially opened for trading for the day.

Shopping centre security responded immediately, and evacuated the centre. With trading hours beginning at 9am on Saturdays, most of the shops were still closed and empty at the time of the shooting.

Jerome Voegt, spokesman for Mitchells Plain police, said his officials were first on the scene, but the case was then handed over to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for further investigation.

Wimpy branch manager Anton Putter was on his way to work when the shooting occurred.

“The ATMs are right in front of our restaurant, just opposite us,” Putter said on Saturday morning. He said the shooting happened directly in front of them.

“The whole centre is shut down. All the doors are closed down. There’s a huge crowd gathered.

“We’re losing thousands and thousands of rands here.”

One of Putter’s staff members at Wimpy had been busy opening the door to the restaurant when she heard three gunshots. She ran to the back of the restaurant and hid among the freezers.

The centre was opened to the public by midday, with entrance three and surrounding shops remaining closed for the day while forensics and law enforcement continued with their investigations. Businesses closed for the day included Wimpy, Mr Price Home, Shoe City and Standard Bank.

Liberty Promenade centre management sent condolences to the family of the security guard killed in the heist.

The management also assured the public that the centre followed a strict security protocol and that the matter would be assessed by security experts to reduce the risk of similar incidents happening in the future.

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Weekend Argus