It’s time we focused on #CITSolutions and it’s time for all companies to introduce the measures as a matter of urgency, says Yusuf Abramjee. File picture: Tracey Adams/ANA Photo
Johannesburg - There have been more than 160 attacks on cash vans this year. The figure includes “cross-pavement robberies” and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies on roads where vans are blown up.

In the last week alone, there were at least five attacks. We cannot ignore the fact that CIT crimes are well planned and executed by skilled individuals who are part of organised crime syndicates.

CIT operators cannot solve the problem on their own. However, they need to move at speed and use technology and innovation to stop the attacks.

I’ve had insight into some of the ways of curbing the robberies and it’s good to see some companies using the technology produced locally. Solving the crimes requires a collaborative effort between the SAPS, the South African Banking Risk Information Council (Sabric,) unions, all CIT service providers, the business sector, the public and other stakeholders of the cash services industry.

Leading CIT company, SBV Security, says: “We are extremely pleased that the various role-players have started to make their voices heard and are appealing for standardisation and a collective effort.”

Recently, unions hosted a protest involving all the major CIT service providers. SBV supported the cry by unions for the regulation and institution of minimum standards.

Last month, SBV Services, G4S and Fidelity met the parliamentary portfolio police committee, Police Minister Bheki Cele, the deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Sabric, unions and various other stakeholders. All agreed to collaboratively improve security, regulatory and operational standards and work together to mitigate CIT crime. Some companies have dedicated teams that specialise in technology and innovation. Vehicle technology, for example, is advanced and SBV is constantly changing and adapting the technology on its vehicles and making significant investments in security measures to protect its employees.

The manufacture and design of the fleet “is exceptionally executed and continuously re-engineered to resemble military type vehicles. These vehicles have increasingly advanced on-board security systems such as one-time codes, vault protection systems and live-feed cameras”.

Thanks to technology developed by the CSIR some years ago, security companies are able to reduce attacks on their vans. The innovation involves the installation of a polyurethane dispensing unit (the Pudu), a sense-and-deploy device that dispenses quick-drying and solidifying polyurethane foam into the vault area of CIT vehicles when they are attacked. The polyurethane covers the cash in the vehicle’s vault and makes it impossible for attackers to retrieve.

“It has been tested in the field and has a proven track record in safeguarding assets during cash-in-transit heists, leading to asset recovery and a significant reduction in actual attack,” says the CSIR.

It’s a pity only some are using the technology. It should be compulsory.

Perhaps the government and the industry need to review the minimum standard required - even if means having laws in place. We know that staining cash technology is also available and is effective especially for cross-pavement robberies.

I recently visited All Cash, a company in Kyalami that specialises in safety and security technology. The products are manufactured locally.

It’s time we focused on #CITSolutions and it’s time for all companies to introduce the measures as a matter of urgency. Police have made some arrests for CIT robberies but we need many more. We also need the kingpins behind bars. Police need to sustain visibility and ensure they respond with speed. The public has a role to play and we must start blowing the whistle on the criminals. Someone, somewhere, somehow knows something. The Namola/Dial Direct Safety App can also be used to make tip-offs anonymously.

The SANDF confirmed in Parliament, through the minister, that some weapons seized from a CIT robbery belonged to the SANDF. This is worrying.

The rate at which cash vans are being attacked is making news abroad. It’s affecting our country’s image. It’s affecting our economy. Let’s continue to unite and fight the scourge. Let’s start moving at speed and getting the necessary security measures in place.

* Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and head of #MakeSASafe. He partnered with SBV Security recently as a consultant.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.