08/06/2018 16:35 SAST | Updated 08/06/2018 16:35 SAST

Gauteng Police Make Little Headway With Cash-In-Transit Heists

Gauteng police have arrested just 28 suspects in only 11 of the 74 cases opened since August.

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There have been 74 cash-in-transit robberies in Gauteng since August 2017. Suspects have only been arrested in 11 of those incidents.

This is according to provincial police commissioner General Deliwe de Lange, who was addressing the Gauteng community safety committee in the provincial legislature on Friday.

She said of the 74 robberies, in the period from August last year until the end of May this year, 30 targeted armoured cash-in-transit vehicles, while the other 44 cases were cross-pavement robberies.

The latter are incidents in which money is intercepted as it is carried to, or loaded on a stationary armoured vehicle, or as it is offloaded from the vehicle.

De Lange said Gauteng police had only been able to arrest 28 suspects in 11 of the cases.

She said the provincial police had also managed to recover nine AK-47 rifles, one R5 rifle, one R4 rifle, 11 9mm firearms and one other firearm.

Further, police were able to recover R95-million following the arrests of the criminals.

'Give us a month, and you will see'

De Lange described the perpetrators of cash-in-transit robberies as "well-organised criminal groups" with access to high-powered, automatic and semi-automatic weapons and explosives.

She said she was not in a position to provide more information to the committee about the provincial police department's strategies to counter cash-in-transit robberies, because of the "sensitivity" of the issue. She asked for some time to show the committee that the police were tackling the problem.

"In the successes we have achieved, the arrests we are making, it seems we are getting somewhere," she said.

"We are definitely getting somewhere. Give us a month, and you will see. We know where the firearms are, but we can't say more."

Brigadier Johan Kruger, acting deputy provincial commissioner for policing in the operational command centre, said: "This is not only a Gauteng problem, but a national problem."

He said the police would increase tracking and tracing to find the criminals behind the cash-in-transit heists, while also working closely with the South Africa Banking Risk Information Centre and the various companies responsible for carrying cash in the province.

Quick, decisive response

Kruger also said the police would escort cash vans, should they alert them of an immediate threat.

On Wednesday, police minister Bheki Cele declared war on cash-in-transit criminals.

"Criminals have declared the war, so they must get ready to fight the war. All of the units are out of the barracks, all of the units are on the streets. We will be responding much quicker, and responding much more decisively," Cele said at a media briefing in Pretoria.

News24 reported that National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, who also attended the briefing, would not disclose how many cash-in-transit syndicates were currently operating throughout the country, but said that there was more than one syndicate currently targeting cash vans.

"We deal with them in terms of the unconventional policing approach. The assurance we can give is that we are following all of them, and we are going to break all of them down," said Sitole.