WHEN Glenville Kogana’s security guard crew were robbed while they fiddled with a leaking fuel tank as they were loading an ATM, his employers called him negligent and sued him for nearly R5 million.

Now the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has ruled that he was not responsible as there was no proof that he could have stopped the robbery, even if he had done his job properly.

In June 2007, cash-delivery company SBV Services collected R5m in 23 bags from a depot in Port Elizabeth and started deliveries to bank ATMs.

Kogana was in charge of the four-man delivery crew.

The driver had a 9mm pistol and had to stay in the van. The “long gun man” had an automatic assault rifle, and at delivery sites he had to get out and find a strategic position so that he could fire on any attackers. The “bag man” unloaded the cash.

At the first ATM, they were robbed. When Kogana got out of the van at the ATM, he found that diesel had spilt from their vehicle’s tank.

Kogana told the driver to get out and sort it out.

The Port Elizabeth High Court previously heard that the missing tank cap had been known about by the crew for at least two weeks, and a senior SBV official also knew. The driver tried to retie the piece of plastic over the tank inlet with cable ties, then tried to use a bank bag to fix it.

Meanwhile, the bag man took money to the ATM.

Then the gang with R5s arrived.

Kogana “found himself confronted by an armed man who took his pistol and made him lie on the ground”, said the SCA.

SBV said the long-gun man wasn’t in the best place to resist the robbery. The gang took the cash and then fled.

SBV sued Kogana and the long-gun man for R4.8m.

The high court ruled in SBV’s favour, finding the two crew negligent.

But Kogana won the appeal because SBV failed to prove that the theft would have been foiled if Kogana had acted properly.