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South Africans want SAPS intelligence to fight and curb violent robberies

Cash van is rammed off the road. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Cash van is rammed off the road. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 16, 2023

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Cash-in-transit heists are on the rise and South Africans are questioning SAPS Intelligence who at this point are losing the fight to intercept heinous robberies that have increased by 30% from the same period last year.

This surge is happening under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to the latest Cash-In Transit Association of South Africa (Citsa) report, the industry has seen a total of 249 cash-in- transit robberies across the country in the period January-October, compared to just 191 in 2022 and 188 in 2021.

Last week, the association said it is worried about this countrywide phenomenon amid three violent heists in Gauteng and KZN in one weekend

The 30-minute-long heist that occurred on the N12 near Soweto left citizens shocked at the brazen conduct by the heavily armed gang who bombed a cash van. Motorists recorded and shared videos of the act on different social media platforms.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said the province is considering cashless options amid a surge in CIT.

Last year, Ramaphosa announced that the Ministry of State Security would be done away with and political responsibility for the State Security Agency would reside in The Presidency.

“Intelligence driven operations followed by evidence led investigations are the only way to counter the increase in organised crime, especially violent crimes such as cash-in-transit heists,” said Chad Thomas from IRS Forensic Investigations.

Thomas added: “We have seen some positive results from SAPS Crime Intelligence, however a well funded, fully capacitated and properly resourced Crime Intelligence component within SAPS can break the back on organised crime in South Africa.”

He said crime intelligence cannot act in isolation.

“SAPS detective services and the DPCI also need to be properly capacitated so as to adequately investigate the syndicates identified by crime intelligence; and the NPA needs to be fully resourced to prosecute the perpetrators,” said Thomas.

He said Intelligence in South Africa is a complicated issue.

Thomas added that intelligence housed in the Presidency is mostly in regard to policy related to the State Security Agency which is responsible for national security from both a domestic as well a foreign perspective.

“The RICA Amendment Bill and GILAB are currently before Parliament. GILAB could definitely make a difference in the fight against crime,” Thomas said.

Although the crime has increased, police have been successful in arresting and killing suspected CIT robbers.

On October 8, police shot and killed four robbers in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal.

Police confiscated rifles, explosives and signal jammers at a house believed to be a “safe haven”.

In September, a total of 18 suspected cash-in-transit robbers were killed in a shoot-out with police in Limpopo.

The National Commissioner of the SA Police Service, General Fannie Masemola, said police believed they had “broken the back of a syndicate” that was possibly responsible for a number of CITs in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

As the country is heading into the festive season, experts said more robberies are expected to happen.