SABRIC's Kevin Twiname (left), Minister of Police Bheki Cele (middle) and the National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sithole at a media briefing addressing the recent increase of cash-in-transit heists.

PRETORIA - The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) on Wednesday said the number of cash-in-transit heists for the first six months of 2018 had seen a marked increase compared to 2017 with 159 robberies reported in the first two quarters of this year. 

Sabric's Kevin Twiname said several robberies took place when cash-in-transit vehicles were doing pick ups and drop offs.

Of the 71 attacks that took place in transit, 49 resulted in the write-off of specialised vehicles that cost between R1.1 million and R1.4 million each.

"We do not reveal how much cash has been lost, but the cost of vehicles lost about R67 million so far this year."

Minister of Police Bheki Cele said some weapons which have been recovered during the cash-in-transit heists belong to police and the army.

"There are SAPS members who have been arrested for cash-in-transit robberies. We won't sit here and deny their involvement," Cele said.

He said foreign nationals have also been arrested for their involvement in the heists.

READ: #CITRobberies: Cele announces arrests, vows to make SA safe again

Cele was speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday addressing the recent increase of cash-in-transit heists, together with SABRIC and the Federation of Unions of South Africa.

The minister said he believed police were making progress in apprehending suspects involved in the heists.

"In less than 24 hours we have arrested 13 suspects. We have also arrested the second in command kingpin in the cash-in-transit syndicate. I am not going to name him but he's with us."

Cele said they have raised the issue of bail for suspects with the minister of justice as some of the criminals continue with their criminal activity after being released.

"There was a criminal we arrested who once had been out on bail 41 times before."

Cele said cash heists, gangsterism, political killings, taxi violence, kidnappings and the killing of women and children killings would be prioritised.

African News Agency/ANA