A chance to own a Casspir

Time of article published Nov 28, 2008

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By Louise Flanagan

It's the perfect item for crime-weary Joburgers - your very own armoured vehicle.

The police are selling off 205 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) that they don't need anymore.

Unfortunately they're wrecks.

Most are being sold without any registration papers and "voetstoets", meaning with no guarantees. They are all redundant or scrapped.

The batch that The Star looked at on Wednesday at the Benoni police vehicle depot were elderly, undriveable wrecks, missing wheels, windows, seats and engines.

One was completely burnt out and another had a 2m-tall tree growing in it.

They were surrounded by weed-filled rolls of rusted razor wire.

Here's what's on the shopping list: 67 Casspirs, 40 Nonqai, 38 Scouts, 27 Nyala, eight Mambas, five Buffels, and a handful of others including Blesbok, Duikers, Boerbok and an Albatross.

Casspirs are the huge V-hulled mine-resistant armoured vehicles, usually painted yellow and blue and seating 12 people in the back, which became a symbol of security force action against anti-apartheid protests in townships during the 1980s.

The name is an anagram of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which designed them, and the old SA Police (SAP) which used them.

Buffels (buffalo) were usually painted brown and were also V-hulled. Nonqais and Nyalas look like armoured buses while Scouts are smaller.

They are all manufactured to military specification, according to the police bid documents. Even though the vehicles may be undriveable, sales are restricted.

Buyers must have "a valid armaments development and manufacturing permit" and must say what they plan to do with the APCs.

Buyers planning to use them for cash-in-transit work must be registered security businesses.

Any criminals thinking of buying their very own armoured vehicle should think again, as the bid documents warn that buyers won't be considered unless their "bona fides have been authenticated", state the documents.

Nobody may operate an armoured vehicle painted to look like a police or military vehicle.

"The APC vehicle will not be used for purposes of endangering the security of the state, the violation of human rights, resolving labour disputes, quelling unrest or committing any unlawful act," state the bid documents firmly.

If you buy one, you have to make sure it doesn't get stolen.

All buyers must be registered with the Secretary of Defence. Permission is needed to resell, rent out or export any of the vehicles.

The National Intelligence Agency may even be asked to check up on what buyers are doing with their purchases.

The vehicles are at depots in seven provinces.

Bids for the vehicles close in February.

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