South Africa News

Fidelity weighs in on impact of cash-in-transit heists on industry

Fidelity Services Group is expected to beef up patrols and surveillance over the next three months following a spate of attacks on cash-carrying vehicles across the country.

Speaking to the publication, Fidelity’s Wahl Bartmann said the company is concerned about the unnecessary loss of life.

“Tragically, we have lost 16 officers since March, and many have sustained life-changing injuries. In other cases, there is a huge amount of trauma experienced, and this requires support and intervention. The impact on the rest of our staff is significant and impacts morale, which is understandable,” he said.

Commenting on the CIT impacts from an operational perspective, Bartmann said the safety of guards remains a priority.

“We have spent millions on upgrading the security of our vehicles to protect our officers, as well as their protective clothing. We constantly train our officers and alter our routes. We have also introduced additional land and air support for the crews, but these CIT robbers are probably the most dangerous people in the South African criminal underworld. We will continue to try and make it harder for these criminals to operate in our country,” Bartmann said.

Earlier in the week, Bartmann called for the SA National Defence Force to be deployed to tackle the scourge of attacks.

He explained that the issue of CIT robberies keep increasing, year on year, for the last three years.

“We are just not getting on top of this scourge, and Gauteng is the province worst impacted. According to the latest Cash-In-Transit Association of South Africa report, from January to August 2023, there were 217 CIT robberies, compared to just 191 in 2022 and 188 in 2021. The modus operandi most prevalent is bombings, which is particularly concerning and raises questions as to where these explosives are coming from. Our view is that the source is mainly commercial, from the mines, for example, and cross-border, where our border control is still way too porous,” he said, adding that apart from Gauteng, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, and KZN have also shown unacceptable spikes.

Bartmann said vehicle attacks and bombings represent about 60% of the attacks, with the bulk remaining cross-pavement attacks.

“We need to find a way to close down the source so these syndicates are not able to access these kind of explosives and we need better border control, as mentioned above. We are seeing a number of different groups and splinter groups which are hard to manage,” he said.

-IOL

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