South Africa


Cash-in-transit heists soar in Gauteng

Members of the South African Police Service mark the crime scene where suspects who were alleged to be planning a CIT heist were staying on 3 March 2021 in Sandton, Johannesburg. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Trevor Kunene)

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said there are insiders in the police department who collude with criminals involved in cash-in-transit crimes.

Gauteng reduced the 17 community-reported crimes by 9.6%, above the 7.5% target in the province’s 2020/21 third quarter, according to the crime statistics report presented to the Gauteng legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety on Thursday.

This drop is largely because of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations. The report says when society returns to a certain level of normality, it will be a daunting task to expect the same levels of crime reduction.

However, cash-in-transit [CIT] heists had the highest increase, of more than 106%. In the reporting period, 31 cases were recorded, from 15 cases reported in 2019.

Contact crimes such as murder, 1,327 cases (up by 7.5%); attempted murder, 1,323 cases (up by 3.8%); assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, 11,762 cases (up by 4.4%); common assault, 13,873 cases (up by 0.4%); robbery, 4,185 cases (up by 12.9%) and sexual offences, 3,276 cases (up by 6%), also saw an increase from the same period in 2019. 

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said there are insiders in the police department who collude with criminals involved in CIT crimes.

“Our crime intelligence is at work trying to identify the groups which are responsible for committing these crimes,” he said. 

“Our intelligence is doing their best to ensure they infiltrate those syndicates and also ensure that they give us the proactive intelligence so that we can also respond before these criminals commit crimes.

“CIT is a challenge, but we are working to end it. You may have all the strategies but once you have the insider threat, all your strategies will be in vain because the same people you are working with are the same colluding with criminals. 

“So we do have cases whereby there is an insider threat and there are cases in court whereby some people within the industry were arrested for planning or being involved in the CITs. We have members who are colluding and some are part of the robbery.”

Domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV) also increased during the period – 7,860 offences related to domestic violence were committed from October to December 2020.

Mawela said GBV is a societal problem and cannot be left for the police alone. 

“We all have the responsibility to deal with it together and it also goes with the behaviour of everyone, including activists in the community,” he said.

“We should go out there and change the behaviour and attitudes of the perpetrators of this criminality. I will urge all of us to work together so we can mobilise against the perpetrators. We will also do our part when these crimes are reported so that we act decisively and bring to book those responsible.”

Responding to crimes in the province

The Gauteng SAPS in conjunction with the metro police departments and the Department of Community Safety developed the Growing Gauteng Together [GGT] Five-Year Policing Plan. The report says the intervention programmes are aimed at reducing crimes such as murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual offences, carjacking and truck hijacking, CIT crimes, arson and stock theft in the province.

The driving force of the plan is the success of O’Kae Molao operations which led to 5,831 arrests being made from September to December 2020. 

Crimes against women and children during the period saw a total of 1,578 arrests, with 1,494 targeted against women, while 84 crimes were committed against children.

The report added that counterfeit goods such as mag wheels, clothing, shoes, cigarettes, perfume, cellphone accessories and washing powder, to the value of R27,486,500, were confiscated throughout Gauteng during the reporting period.

Tackling crimes in schools

The report said the South African Police Service is addressing crimes at schools such as bullying and intimidation, substance and drug abuse, gang activities, possession of dangerous weapons, assaults, theft, and gender violence. Criminal actions such as vandalism and attacks outside school premises are also being tackled.

Mawela said that from March 1 2020 to February 22 2021, a total of 1,356 cases of burglary, arson, and theft were reported in schools in the province. A total of 222 suspects were arrested.

“The schools governing body must mobilise the parents and everyone around the school to protect the schools, but obviously we as the police would respond to protect the schools,” he said. DM


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