The South African Police Service (SAPS) and security industry stakeholders briefed the Committee on the measures which had been introduced, or were under consideration, to combat the recent spate of violent cash-in-transit (CIT) heists.
SAPS said that due to the recent spike in the incidence of CITs, both the SAPS and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) had intensified their focus. These crimes were a danger to society and a threat to the security of the Republic. The strategic plan was focused on stamping the authority of the state on the situation through destabilisation and normalization, and currently SAPS was involved in destabilisation. The deployment of the various SAPS and other operational capabilities was considered to still be in the initial phase. The role-players were acclimatising to the operational approach. There was regular liaison, including briefing and debriefings, involving all role-players. The strengthening of the intelligence collection capability had been prioritised to ensure the identification of organised CIT criminal groups.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) said currently there was no entity regulating the sector in respect of the amount of cash being transported, and the vaults and vehicles being used were not up to standard. The limited number of officers used during asset-in-transit (AIT) operations was due to the cost, and PSIRA should be the one to dictate standards. The biggest threat in the industry was certainly internal, because despite technology the human element was prevalent in the AIT industry. The criminals were heavily armed and used AK47s, R4s and R5s. Its recommendations for improvements in the industry included consultation to develop credible future standards, regulation of vehicles and protective equipment, and improved training.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was concerned that because of these heists, there was a likely increase in currency handling costs due to the replacement of equipment and vehicles, and higher insurance premiums. There were also unintended consequences, including shifts to alternative payment methods. The SARB allowed the use of currency protection devices (CPDs) -- a device designed to deter theft of currency by making it unusable -- but this had to be approved by the SARB, as it was an offence to wilfully deface, soil or damage a banknote. The CPS typically worked by dye staining, but could also consist of physical destruction or the application of adhesives. Currently, the SARB had received no requests for the use of dye staining devices in the cash-in-transit vehicles. There should be an expansion of the research capability to look at devices and technology that would render banknotes obtained during robberies unusable.
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) including three big companies in the cash-in-transit industry (G4S, SBV and Fidelity Group) briefed the Committee on measures that needed to be put in place to combat CIT robberies. These had grown from 268 in 2016 to 378 in 2017, and there had already been 159 in the first five months of 2018. The industry indicated that there was a total of 268 cash-in-transit robberies in 2016 and 378 cases in 2017. 2 500 armoured vehicles were rendering services daily, and there were 100 000 service points per day in 110 branches. There was R136 billion cash in circulation. A number of employee risk management strategies were in place, which included vetting, voice stress analysis, polygraphs and the fact that only South Africans were employed. A lifestyle audit was carried out, including a pre-employment check-up. Legislation had been developed on the management of explosives but there was limited enforcement in this regard, which was a matter of concern. There should be greater firearms control and border control to limit the access to firearms and explosives.
The Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) said cash-in-transit security guards were often poorly paid and open to bribes and intimidation, and this even extended to SAPS members and magistrates. The reality was that these workers were working extremely long shifts -- often 12 hours --and some entry level security guards earned as little as R3 500 per month. Many undocumented migrant workers were deliberately employed and exploited. The workers should be guaranteed a 40 hour work week, and not be forced to work 12-hour shifts. COSATU believed that the guards should be paid R20 000. All workers should be permanent employees and be provided with pension, medical aid and insurance.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) also wanted the minimum wage to be moved to R20 000. A two-person crew was used in 85% of vehicles used to transport money, which were usually without air-conditioning and therefore unbearably hot. In some cases, the security guards were not armed with rifles. Because of the brutality of the criminal gangs, the Union wanted harsher sentences.
Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) suggested greater collaboration and communication among stakeholders to deal with the cash-in-transit heists. It said that the establishment of a ‘strategic and systemic foresight/modelling’ capability would enable forward-thinking, modelling and monitoring of key national challenges. BACSA had a strong and established partnership with SAPS and industries enabling facilitation of sustainable anti-crime initiatives. SAPS and BACSA should compile sustainable business and action plans for implementation, as envisaged by the National Police Commissioner.
The Mineral Council of South Africa said there had been a lot of allegations in the media that explosives used in heists were sourced from mining operations, but these statements were very disingenuous and unfortunate. There were various measures in place to ensure that there were controls in the use of explosives in the mining sector to prevent their loss and theft. Criminal and disciplinary actions were taken on the misuse of explosives, and any loss or theft was immediately reported to the SAPS.
Members asked about the lessons that had been learnt from the heists in recent months, and how SAPS would be able to sustain the cooperation between different stakeholders, as this would be essential to deal with CIT heists. They commended the approach being adopted by the new management at SAPS, as it had instilled new energy into the organization. They asked whether the DPCI could form a specialized unit to deal with the heists. Was there a need for a dedicated team of prosecutors to deal with this issue? Why were suspects being released on bail? Could more use be made of helicopters to reach heist scenes more quickly? The industry needed to improve the working conditions of CIT security guards so that they were not susceptible to bribery. Would changing CIT operations to night time make a difference? More attention should be devoted to trauma counseling for guards involved in heists. The leakage of information from within the industry was a key challenge that needed to be addressed.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting and indicated the Committee would raise issues related to the DNA Board at the following day’s meeting, including the Constitutional Court judgment in regard to the firearm licensing and the investigation into the mosque attack in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). It had to be stated that cash-in-transit robbery was a sub-programme of aggravated robbery. There had been a decline in cash-in-transit robberies up until 2008, although the trend had started to reverse from 2016/17, with an increase of 10.9%, bringing the number of cash-in-transit robberies to 152 by the end of that financial year. It was estimated that this trend had increased in 2017/18, and it was estimated that 146 cash-in-transit robberies had been recorded between January and May of 2018.
The Committee welcomed the intervention plan that had been announced by the Minister of Police on 4 June, where it had been indicated that there were five pillars to deal with these robberies: intelligence gathering, combating and rapid response approach, detection and communication and liaison. The focus of the Committee today was intelligence and readiness of the South African Police Service (SAPS), cooperation between SAPS and the private security industry, and the vetting procedure within SAPS and the private security industry. The Committee would also want to know about the regulatory environment and the role of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), cooperation between the banking sector and the law enforcement agencies, and the technological innovations to curb the incentives to engage in these robberies.
The Committee had seen clip on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC’s) TV Channels 1 and 2, where it had been shown how easy it was to access explosives from the mines for R500 without any questions asked. This was the major concern that the Committee would need to look into, considering that the explosives were being used in committing these heists. The Committee had also seen industrial action yesterday by the relevant trade unions in the private security industry, and it was clear that it was also a huge concern for them.
The Committee would like to welcome the arrest of six perpetrators by SAPS. There was indeed action and progress, but the fear factor was still a major issue and the Committee had to ensure that South African citizens were safe and had confidence in the law enforcement agencies. The purpose of the meeting today was to get feedback from the different institutions on where there were stumbling blocks, and to also look at solutions. The Committee wanted to hear about steps that had been introduced in 2006 and 2007 that had worked, and why there was a relapse on this. Most analysts said this spate of cash-in-transit heists was fuelled by bad appointments within SAPS, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and Crime Intelligence (CI). The question was how to ensure that SAPS was able to deal with this issue collectively. The format to be followed was to allow all stakeholders to make presentations, and then be followed by questions from Members.
Mr Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, said that SAPS had not only arrested six people yesterday, but there had been 10 -- three from Limpopo, six from Mpumalanga and one from Central Johannesburg who came from a group that had hit two G4S vans in Boksburg a few weeks back. The change here was that all these individuals had been arrested before action.
The Chairperson said that this was a very important development, as SAPS needed to have a pre-execution phase within the Department.
General Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, reminded everyone about the Strategic Plan that had been presented to the Committee which had focused on stamping the authority of the state on the situation through destabilisation and normalization, and currently SAPS was involved in destabilisation. The request from SAPS was not to share all the information, because that information was currently in execution. It had to be emphasised that SAPS was close to bringing this crime under control.
Minister Cele also requested that SAPS should be allowed space to investigate and bring down these criminals. Police officers had not slept since last night, and were still working on bringing these criminals down.
South African Police Service (SAPS) briefing
Lt Gen Fani Masemola, Deputy National Commissioner: Visible Policing, SAPS, said that the combating of cash-in-transit robberies (CITs) had always been a priority for the SAPS and the DPCI, but due to the recent spike in the incidence of CITs, both the SAPS and the DPCI had intensified their focus. The modus operandi of the individuals perpetrating these crimes was a danger to society, and a threat to the security of the Republic. CITs were premeditated and executed with precision. The perpetrators were becoming more brazen and were utilizing high calibre firearms, jamming devices, explosives, armour-piercing ammunition, high performance vehicles and extreme violence. Cash in transit vehicles were targeted en route between their depots/bases and their destinations, and between their cash collection points and their depots/bases. The provinces most affected were: Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The Eastern Cape had experienced a slight , while the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and the Free State had shown a slight decrease. The increase in the incidence of CITs had necessitated that a national intervention be initiated to stabilise the incidence of CITs.
Lt Gen Masemola said that the stabilisation plan focused on intelligence gathering, analysis and coordination, a proactive, preventive approach, combating and a rapid reaction approach and detection, including the application of an organised crime approach, and lastly communication and liaison. The operational approach was based on the tried-and-tested method of integrating operational processes, resources, competencies and capabilities from all of the SAPS’s operational environments. These operational environments were coordinated by a dedicated centralised command structure to ensure that the threat was addressed in a holistic and results-driven manner.
There were 63 suspects that had been arrested linked to CIT heists, and 17 were out on bail, 32 were in custody, while 14 had been released on warning and still attended court. The type of firearms that had been seized included AK47s, R4s, shotguns and pistols, and the origin of these firearms was unknown. It must be stated that these figures had changed dramatically, since there were still more CIT heists that were happening in the country. The vehicles that were being recovered were sometimes owned by friends, relatives and recruiters, others owned by car hire companies, while others were hijacked vehicles. There were 18 vehicles that had been recovered so far.
In conclusion, Lt Gen Masemola indicated that the deployment of the various SAPS and other operational capabilities was considered to be still in the initial phase. The role players were acclimatising to the operational approach. There was regular liaison, including briefing and debriefings, involving all role players, which would be used to optimise the operational approach. The strengthening of the intelligence collection capability had been prioritised to ensure the identification of organised CIT criminal groups. The targeted deployment of both proactive (preventative) and reactive (combating) visible policing capabilities was dependent on effect intelligence collection, analysis and coordination.
Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) briefing
Ms Margaret Gichanga, Researcher: PSIRA; said that the global context showed that the Assets-In-Transit (AIT) industry in South Africa had experienced significant growth and evolution. Research showed that the only information on AIT was concentrated in media reports about the various cash-in-transit heists that were commonplace in the country, and this presented a key limitation to the study. The growth in the industry had occurred parallel to the country’s burgeoning economy and high crime rates.
Despite playing a significant role in the economy of the country, little was known about the AIT sector, save for the cash-in-transit heists which were pervasive in the country. 2016/17 had recorded an increase in registered AIT businesses of 2 717, up from the previous financial year of 2 474, and there were now 2 870 businesses registered for AIT. The current training standards required one to have PSIRA grade E-C courses as well as an AIT competency certificate for firearms. There were currently about 70 857 security officers trained in AIT courses. The firearm compliance and a competency certificate, refresher training regulation 21, was a key aspect of training for the industry.
Ms Gichanga said that there were areas of improvement that had been highlighted in the research and these included the need to deal with the internal process of the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) wholesale movement of cash, as this had an influence on the AIT industry. There was currently no one who was regulating the sector in terms of the amount of cash being transported, and the vaults and vehicles being used were not up to standard. The number of officers used during AIT operations was due to the cost, and PSIRA should be the one to dictate standards.
The 2006 Cash Risk Management Initiative (CRMI) project had had useful lessons for the future of the AIT industry. The biggest threat in the industry was certainly internal, because despite technology the human element was prevalent in the AIT industry. Criminals were heavily armed and used AK47s, R4s and R5s and 9mm. It may not be feasible to set a standard for the vehicles used, instead of a minimum requirement. as there were different threats and thus different requirements. The bombing of vehicles had forced the industry to look at different ways to protect vehicles. There were those that supported higher standards for the industry because they could afford it, but there were those who said it would be a barrier to entry.
Ms Gichanga indicated that there were number of areas of improvement and these included the following:
- Consult industry to determine and develop credible future standards;
- Regulate vehicles and protective equipment;
- Transformation of women in the AIT industry;
- Improve training standards and curriculum development;
- Empower inspectorate in terms of numbers, approach and training;
- Streamline service and infrastructure for better service delivery;
- Reporting on deaths of AIT officers;
South African Reserve Bank (SARB) briefing
Mr François Groepe, Deputy Governor, SARB, said that the organisation was concerned about the increased prevalence of cash-in-transit attacks in the country, especially when looking at the fact that these attacks were associated with loss of life and injuries. There were also concerns that because of these attacks, there was a likely increase in currency handling costs due to the replacement of equipment and vehicles, and higher insurance premiums. These costs were likely to be passed on to the broader public. There were also unintended consequences, including shifts to alternative payment methods. There was also a possibility that this might negatively affect business, consumers and investment sentiment.
The SARB supported the commitment that had been made by the Minister of Police to combat cash-in-transit attacks and apprehend the perpetrators. The SARB, in executing its constitutional and statutory obligations, was an active participant in the currency ecosystem, and routinely engaged with commercial banks, industry representatives and cash-in-transit operators. It allowed the use of Currency Protection Devices (CPDs), but these must be approved by the SARB. Therefore, it was an offence to wilfully deface, soil or damage a banknote. The SARB was also in support of the protection of currency against crime and providing a method of identifying the proceeds of crime.
Mr Groepe explained that the CPD was a mechanical or electro-mechanical, device designed to deter theft of currency by making the currency unusable. This was typically achieved by dye staining, but could also consist of physical destruction or the application of adhesives. Currently, the SARB had received no requests for the use of dye staining devices in the cash-in-transit vehicles.
It was recommending that there should be increased security regulation by the appropriate regulator, such as the development and implementation of minimum standards for all cash handling entities. There should be an expansion of the research capability to look at devices and technology that would render banknotes obtained during robberies unusable. There should be continued engagement and collaboration with relevant industry stakeholders, domestic and international. There should be continued updating of testing standards and protocols to remain relevant to changing attack types.
South African Banking Risk Information (SABRIC) briefing
Mr Kevin Twiname, Head: Service Delivery, SABRIC; said that there had been a total of 268 cash-in-transit robberies in 2016 and 378 cases in 2017. The value of incidents in 2016 had been R188 million, while it was R251 million in 2017. There had been 42 cases of cash-in-transit robberies in Gauteng in 2017, while there had been 58 cases in the province at the moment. There had been 28 cases of heists in the Western Cape in 2017, but there were only 10 cases currently in the province this year. There were 26 cases of heists in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in 2017, but this had declined to eight at the moment. There was an opportunity to replicate the successes in the Western Cape and KZN. There were 34 security guards wounded in 2017, and seven who were killed in the cash-in-transit heists. There were 11 civilians wounded last year, with no recorded fatalities. There were 62 security guards that had been wounded in 2018 so far, with five guards having been killed. Eight civilians had been wounded, and two had been killed.
Mr Twiname said that 2 500 armoured vehicles were rendering services daily, and there were 100 000 service points per day in 110 branches. There was R136 billion cash in circulation, and the value of cash that was being transported was R1.8 trillion. There were a number of employee risk management strategies in place which included vetting, voice stress analysis, polygraphs and the fact that only South Africans were employed. A lifestyle audit was being carried out, including a pre-employment check-up.
Mr Wahl Bartmann, Group CEO: Fidelity Security Group; said that there was collaboration with SAPS in order to address this scourge, including collaboration with Joint Operations Control Centres (JOCCs) at the provincial level, with the deployment of additional tactical support, including police escorts and air support. There was also coordination between the cash-in-transit companies and engagements on existing company policies and methods. There was continuous research and development of technology to minimise potential risks.
Mr Mark Barrett, Group CEO, SBV Services; said legislation had been developed on the management of explosives, but the limited enforcement in this regard was a matter of concern. There should be greater firearms control and border control to limit the access to firearms and explosives. There was also a need to improve Crime Intelligence to be able to detect these criminal acts before they happened.
Mr Twiname concluded that the service that was being offered supported the stability of the financial system. Crime was escalating in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West. There was a problem of loss of life of the staff members in the industry and civilians, and this was completely unacceptable. There was a potential country reputational risk because of these heists. A collective effort was required to address these issues.
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) briefing
Mr Matthew Parks, COSATU Parliamentary Officer; welcomed the initiative by the Committee to convene this important summit, as it was indeed critically important. The cash-in-transit heists were run by sophisticated syndicates and this was often driven by inside information from security company and bank employees. The employees were often poorly paid and open to bribes and intimidation, and this even extended to SAPS members and magistrates.
Compulsory industry-wide vetting procedures should be in place, and standards instituted. All members of the cash-in-transit companies must be required to undergo regular vetting. All members should be monitored and standards enforced by a joint structure representing PSIRA, SAPS, the State Security Agency (SSA) and the trade unions. The reality was that these workers were working extremely long shifts, often 12 hours, and were often paid low wages. Some entry level security guards earned as little as R3 500 per month. Others fared little better, with R6 500 per month. Many undocumented migrant workers were deliberately employed and exploited.
Mr Parks said that the guards often lacked security of permanent employment and were frequently on short term contracts, making them permanent temporary workers. Some of the workers were often employed without pensions, medical aid, disability and life insurance. The workers should be guaranteed a 40-hour work week, with no reduction in wages, and they should not be forced to work 12-hour shifts. COSATU believed that the guards should be paid R20 000. The workers should be made permanent by their employer. All workers should be provided with pension, medical aid and insurance benefits. The compensation for families who had lost bread winners should be sufficient to cover their full losses.
COSATU believed that there should be standardised quality and compulsory training across the industry. There should be external oversight of the training provided by a joint structure, including PSIRA, labour unions, SAPS and the Department for Higher Education and Training. There should be an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act to deal with attacks on SAPS personnel and security guards. COSATU also called for the amendment of the Firearms Act, and a ban on the private ownership of firearms.
Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) briefing
Mr Mdumiseni Mabaso, General Secretary: Motor Transport Workers Union (MTWU), said the union was concerned about the dangerous working conditions for cash-in-transit security guards, and suggested there should be an improvement. He said that he had survived eight cash-in-transit heists in cash-in-transit vehicles. The security guards were usually working eight-hour shifts, but sometimes they had to work overtime and became too exhausted to concentrate. The minimum wage was R12 200. The union wanted the minimum to be moved to R20 000, as the union members were saying they were sick and tired of these robberies.
Regarding working conditions, Mr Mabaso said a two-person crew was used in 85% of vehicles used to transport money, which were usually without air-conditioning and therefore unbearably hot. In some cases, the security guards were not armed with rifles.
Referring to the brutality of criminal gangs, Mr Mabaso said that the union wanted harsher sentences for the criminals, as they needed to pay for these acts.. The MTWU would be monitoring the situation closely and if there were no visible improvements, then its members would possibly need to go on strike.
Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) briefing
Mr Billy Graham, Acting Chief Executive Officer: BACSA, said that the organisation was concerned about the high incidence of aggravated robberies, often accompanied by excessive violence. It was particularly concerned about the effect of other violent crimes, including hijackings, truck hijackings, robberies at private houses and businesses, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) bombings and the bombing of safes at fuel stations.
The current cash-in-transit heists were a symptom of the vulnerabilities within the private industries, the organised nature of criminality and the propensity to violence and lack of sharing of information between industries and government. There was also the problem of a poorly functioning criminal justice system. The isolated addressing of cash-in-transit heists could cause a migration to other areas of vulnerability, such as shopping malls, retailers and other vulnerable areas. The approach was dependent on the intra- and inter-industry sharing of information between effected industries and government in a structured, coordinated, and sustainable way -- the fusion concept. There should be intelligence-led policing, enabling the swift and effective apprehension and prosecution of offenders and the disruption of organised crime networks.
Mr Graham suggested a number of recommendations, and these included:
- An increased level of consolidation and sharing of information within a non-competitive environment.
- Improved operational collaboration within and between industries and government in specific law enforcement.
- The launching of joint preventive and combating approaches, targeting specific threats.
- Improved communications to all stakeholders, including the public, business, and government.
- Monitoring the success or overview of the strategy, and to intervene jointly where necessary.
In conclusion, BACSA believed that the establishment of a ‘strategic and systemic foresight/modelling’ capability. This would enable forward-thinking, modelling and monitoring of key national challenges. BACSA had a strong and established partnership with SAPS and industry, enabling facilitation of sustainable anti-crime initiatives. SAPS and BACSA should compile sustainable business and action plans for implementation, as envisaged by the National Police Commissioner.
Mineral Council of South Africa briefing
Ms Ursula Brown, Director: Mineral Council of South Africa, reiterated that the scourge of cash-in-transit robberies in the country must be condemned, as these criminals showed a blatant disregard for human life. These attacks should not be tolerated. It was good to see that this matter was being prioritized. There was a concerted effort from the side of the Council to collaborate in addressing this scourge.
There had been a lot of allegations from the media that the explosives used in heists were sourced from mining operations, but these statements were very disingenuous and unfortunate. There were various measures in place to ensure that there were controls over the use of explosives in the mining sector to prevent their loss and theft. There were Acts that governed the use of the explosives in the industry, including the Mine Health and Safety Act, and there were different control measures in place to ensure that unauthorised people did not gain access to them. There were also standards that were incorporated in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to identify how to manage these explosives from the time of procurement to the process of disposal. There were authorised people in the supervision who were responsible for playing this role. Searches were conducted on a regular basis in collaboration with SAPS. Criminal and disciplinary actions were taken on the misuse of explosives. Any loss or theft of explosives was immediately reported to the SAPS.
The Council reiterated that the allegations about these explosives were disingenuous, especially in the absence of forensic analysis and concrete evidence. There were strict regulatory measures in place in the mining companies, and the companies complied with them.
The Chairperson asked about the lessons that had been learnt in the last month, and how to ensure that SAPS was able to sustain this cooperation between different stakeholders, as this would be essential to deal with cash-in-transit heists. The crisis that had been described by the trade unions needed a national approach. It would be interesting to hear if there was a national approach in place. The Committee should hear whether the PSIRA Amendment Act could address some of the concerns that had been flagged by different stakeholders in the private security industry.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) said that there was no doubt that the new SAPS team had brought more energy within the organization, and this was something that the Committee should welcome. However, 159 cash-in-transit heists just from January up until May this year was still extremely high. Was it possible that there was no specialised unit in the DPCI that was able to deal with these heists? Was SAPS going to establish such a unit? It looked like there was a need to conduct an investigation on magistrates to understand the release on bail of suspects involved in cash-in-transit heists, as these criminals tended to commit the same crime after they had been released. Was there a need for a dedicated team of prosecutors to deal with this issue? It was clear that people were not aware of the amount of money that the industry had to spend to protect these vans from criminals. The Committee should be briefed on whether the spate of cash-in-transit was committed by global-orientated syndicates. There was an indication that the explosives being used were smuggled out of mines. Could SAPS explain this further? Was the SARB able to replace the dyed banknotes?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said he was rather underwhelmed by the SAPS presentation on how to combat cash-in-transit heists, as the presentation was more theoretical than based on reality. Was an aerial response part of the rapid response team to deal with these heists? A helicopter could get to the scene much more quickly. There had been years and years of chronic misuse of resources and assets within SAPS, and this had led to the decline of resourcing the high flying squads within the country. There had been an issue of under-staffing and under-resourcing within SAPS, and the important question was what was going to be done to reverse the situation. Regarding the issue of the ‘detection pillar,’ was this anchored in these specialised units? SAPS should response to the analysis that suggested there seemed to be spate of cash-in-transit robberies before the elections. Was this correct?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked if there was any reason why the trade unions were not included on in pillar 5. There had been an indication of the implementation of a strategy called Operation Gijima Tsotsi in Mpumalanga, and the Committee should be briefed on whether this would be implemented in all the provinces. It was unclear if SAPS had managed to approach the Minister of Mineral Resources on the smuggling of explosives. Why did the industry have only two security guards in cash-in-transit vans, as this was risky for the security guards involved?
Mr J Maake (ANC) said that the purpose of the meeting was to find solutions to deal with cash-in-transit robberies in the country, and not to start throwing blame at one another. What was the role of the private security industry in dealing with these robberies? Was the industry doing enough in dealing with these robberies, or it was just shifting the blame to the police? The SARB was saying that the industry was not requesting additional security measures, like the technology that was being used to dye the notes. Why did the industry have only two security guards in cash-in-transit vans considering the risks that were involved in transporting huge amounts of money? Was the training that was being provided to cash-in-transit security guards accredited by PSIRA? It was unclear if PSIRA needed other legislation to cover additional issues that had been requested by the industry and trade unions, including having blue lights and automatic rifles? Was there any concerted effort to determine whether the rifles used in the heists were from within the country or outside?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) said that PSIRA was the regulatory authority and should be playing an important role in this regard. The private security industry would need to dig deeper and look into the issue of cash-in-transit heists, as this was indeed a very strange situation. PSIRA should investigate cash-in-transit security guards to assist SAPS, as information was being leaked from people within the industry.
Mr M Shaik-Emam (NFP) commended the Minister and the National Commissioner on the arrests that had been made. However, it was still clear that all the stakeholders were working in silos, and it would be impossible to resolve the issue of cash-in-transit heists while still working in isolation. SAPS was certainly not going to resolve it on its own. There was a need to be aware of the social and economic conditions in the country, as the country had widening inequalities, unemployment and increasing levels of poverty. The industry also needed to improve the conditions of cash-in-transit security guards so that the guards were not susceptible to bribery. It seemed it was difficult to establish the origin of the recovered firearms that were being used in cash-in-transit heists. There should be a coordinated communication between different stakeholders to alert everyone to respond to cash-in-transit heists in progress, and this again pointed to a lack of coordination. The reality was that most people, including the security guards, got involved in these heists because of the incentives involved, and this was something that the industry needed to be honest about. The intelligence was really not effective in addressing these heists, and this was another issue that everyone needed to be honest about. There was an indication that some of the vehicles that had been recovered in these heists belonged to family members of these criminals. Was there any attempt to investigate these family members?
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked if any counseling was offered to security guards who had experienced trauma because of cash-in-transit robberies, as this had not been reflected in the presentations by the security companies. There was an indication that a requirement for joining a heist group was for someone to have committed armed robbery. Was SAPS aware of this? Was SAPS and the three big security companies using informers or recruiting informers to deal with cases of cash-in-transit heists? It would be important to establish if there was any involvement of security guards and employees at outlets where money was being collected.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) commented that it was not the first time that the country had had a spike in cash-in-transit heists, as this had been the case in 2006, but what was important was whether there had been any scientific analysis conducted on why there had then been a decrease in cash-in-transit robberies. What lessons, if any, had been learnt to be taken forward? There had been a newspaper article that indicated that 70% of cash-in-transit robberies involved police officers, which was a high percentage. It was clear that SAPS did not have people with the right expertise in crime scene investigation and collection of evidence, so some cases ended up being dismissed. There was a long web of corruption in the whole system, including SAPS and private security guards. Was there any intelligence gathering on this issue? Money was not the cause of corruption, but lack of integrity was. It was totally absurd to hear COSATU saying they want to ban all private firearms, as the problem was not firearms but the people using the firearms. It was like blaming the pencil for incorrect spelling. People were covering these criminals, and this was something that everyone would need to deal with. It was also difficult to understand why these cash-in-transit vans were delivering during the peak hours instead of at night.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) appreciated the presence of the Minister at the meeting, as this was indeed a very important meeting. The presentations showed that there was complete compliance on their side, but the reality was that there were serious internal problems within the industry that had not been reflected. Why was there a lack of acknowledgment of these internal challenges by SABRIC? There was clearly a problem of a leakage of information within the industry, and this was something that would need to be addressed. When had the vetting process within the industry been started? Who was mostly robbed and targeted out of the three big cash-in-transit security companies? The Committee should be briefed on whether the function of transporting cash should be nationalised and given to SAPS, as they had the resources like inyalas and rifles to deal directly with criminals. The Committee had heard a lot about the lack of efficient intelligence gathering within SAPS, but there were also internal problems within the industry. A lot had been missing in the presentation by SABRIC and the industry as a whole, and there was a need to deal with that honestly. The problem of leaking of information within the industry was directly linked to the vetting issue. It had to be highlighted that this was organised crime, and the robbers had the information about the vans that would be delivering money to certain destinations -- information that was being leaked to them. The criminals were certainly not sitting there and waiting for a van that might be coming their way, but they sat there waiting for the vehicle they knew would be coming. It would be interesting to hear whether everyone in the industry was vetted.
Mr Ramatlakane added that he had heard that the industry employed only South Africans, but the reality was that there were foreign nationals who were working in the industry and one could hear this from their language when communicating. A statement had been made by PSIRA that if there was an increase in the standards, then there was a possibility this would lead to the exclusion of some cash-in-transit companies. Was it correct that there had been a lowering of the standards in the industry so as to allow everyone to participate? The standards were still being lowered, but the country had only three dominant cash-in-transit companies.
The Committee still needed to probe the management of the explosives that were being used in the heists. There was an indication that they originated from the mining industry. Who was allowed to purchase these explosives? The Committee needed to narrow down the problem on the availability of these explosives, as this was the major concern. The technology of dye staining the notes was perhaps something that the industry should enforce, to act as a deterrent in these heists.
Minster Cele recounted incidents involving both police and private security guards in recent heists. SAPS had yesterday arrested a woman police officer who was romantically involved with a cash-in-transit kingpin, and three weeks ago had arrested a security guard with R1.5 million in his possession.
He said there was one stakeholder that was missing from today’s meeting, and that was the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as some of these criminals were being given bail. This was something that SAPS would need to address. There had been 17 escapes from “Sun City” prison yesterday, and seven of those escapees were linked to murder. The other fear factor that SAPS needed to deal with was house robbery, where the intention was usually to get a firearm. The R4 rifles belonged to SAPS while the R5s belonged to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). PSIRA needed to work on SAPS systems to prevent the smuggling of firearms that ended up being used in these heists. There would be 104 high-performance vehicles used by SAPS for the purposes of quick response and most of them would be armoured in order to deal directly with criminals.
Minister Cele said that the current head of Crime Intelligence, Mr Anthony Jacobs, needed to be given enough time to turnaround the organisation. SAPS certainly believed he could turn the Hawks around. Crime Intelligence in the country had been destroyed and needed to be resuscitated. SAPS had appointed people in permanent positions, including provincial commissioners, except in the case of the provincial commissioner in KZN. The Technical Response Team (TRT) in the country had disintegrated since 2011, including the taking away of their high powered vehicles like GTIs, which had been given to station commanders. The question that everyone had asked was what the station commander was going to do with GTIs, as they were mostly at the police stations.
SAPS was going to turn things around and South Africans would feel safe once again. The police were working extremely hard to deal with these hardened criminals. The situation had been stabilized, and the country had not had any cash-in-transit heists since Monday 4 June. SAPS could guarantee that South Africans would be safe if SAPS managed to keep the situation as it was at the moment.
General Sitole said the lesson that SAPS had learned was that policing and crime took place at grassroots, and that was why SAPS needed maximum resources at the grassroots level. There had been a migration of resources to the grassroots level to beef up the process. The normalisation must be able to sustain the momentum at the end of destabilization, and this referred to the strategic deployment of resources. This process was running concurrently, and this was being done together with trade unions. There was a cash movement strategy in place and this included collaboration with other stakeholders. There was willingness from all stakeholders that they were here to share a common vision and to fight the same enemy.
However, the main challenge was that there was no existing strategic intervention putting all the stakeholders together. SAPS was currently in a “quick win” action-planning-execution approach, and was moving to medium and long term intervention. The long-term intervention included the use of technology. He had issued a directive within the turnaround process for a work study review on the establishment of relevant specialised units, as demanded by the current situation. Some of the task teams that SAPS had established should not graduate into the specialised unit.
The national approach to the destabilisation process involved both Lt Gen Masemola, current head of the DPCI, and Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, Divisional Head Forensic: Crime Intelligence, in a steering committee responsible for the monitoring and conducting of oversight over the destabilisation. The team was also monitoring the normalisation plan so that it unfoldsed during the end of the destabilisation. SAPS was not going to reestablish all the specialised units, but only those that were demanded by the current situation. It was monitoring the modus operandi of these criminals, and as the modus operandi developed, SAPS was also going to consider the response by the specialised units.
There was a question as to whether the stolen money was being utilised in South Africa or across the borders. This money was mostly involved in laundering, and this was what SAPS was trying to address through an unconventional policing approach. There were covert operations that were being undertaken. SAPS was developing a strategy to combat the illicit economy, and there was quite a link between the stolen money and the illicit economy. The response would be to try to determine where exactly was this money going to. He had attended a meeting of regional police chiefs last week, and it had been indicated that there were planned attacks on the grand economic strategies of the different countries, but the modus operandi affected all the countries, including South Africa. The criminal value chain was almost common, and therefore there would be a strategy that would adopt a collective regional response
SAPS was planning an engagement with the mining industry, as there was legislation that governed the use of explosives. There were units within SAPS who were responsible for conducting inspections on explosives. There was a missing role player in the meeting, and this was the mining sector. There was a common understanding between SAPS and the mining sector on the need to deal with the fact that these explosives originated in the mining sector.
The plan to combat cash-in-transit s in the country was deliberately theoretical, because SAPS did not want to disclose sensitive information to the criminals out there. The Committee could request a closed meeting, if interested, for deeper information in order to avoid the sharing of the strategies with criminals in the media.
The SAPS helicopters were deployed everywhere throughout the country, and this was a way to respond quickly to these robberies. There was a national activation plan to deploy all role players in order to clamp-down on these acts of criminality, including providing aerial support. There was almost 70% aerial support to rapid response. The flying squad was on top of the agenda in the migration of resources and the local policing framework. Most of the high-powered vehicles had been deployed in the flying squad, and the deployment of those vehicles was meant increased personnel in the squad. The flying squad was expected to be back to the normal level of resources, as required. SAPS was also looking for aerial support from the SANDF, to provide additional support.
General Sitole explained that the destabilisation was an operational plan, so SAPS was not consulting the trade unions on it. SAPS did not involve the unions in its operational plans. Operation Gijima Tsotsi was a province-specific strategy for Mpumalanga, and every province had its own specific initiative. Gijima Tsotsi was not a national initiative. There were similar but different initiatives that one would employ in different provinces.
There was a cash movement strategy in place, and SAPS was going to do a cash movement strategy session. The requirement to join the heist was surely the modus operandi criteria, and most of these criminals invested in the runner-ship profile and used various feeders, and then created a springboard for criminals to graduate from one crime to another. The runner-ship profile in the country seemed to be growing day by day, but there were strategies that SAPS needed to deal with this, including community policing and youth crime prevention so as to disrupt this profile.
The statement that police officers were involved in 70% of cash-in-transit heists seemed extremely high, but SAPS could not confirm or deny that figure. All SAPS could say was that the figure seemed extremely high. What was important was how to respond to this 70%. He explained that he had immediately sent a letter of dismissal to the female police constable who was involved with the kingpin of the cash-in-transit heist. The plan was to ensure that SAPS would immediately remove those corrupt officials, and SAPS would take their uniforms away and give these criminals orange uniforms. The plan was to ensure that it was 80%-95% clean so that the management could continue with a clean organization, and Crime Intelligence was assisting in removing these officials.
The lifestyle audits were still ongoing to deal with corruption. SAPS was clear that there should be profiling of ex-employees, including the vetting of current employees of the security companies, as there was leaking of information. Most of the heists involved ex-employees, ex-staff members or former security guards. The profiling would help SAPS to be proactive.
General Sitole clarified that the question on whether to deliver cash at night or during peak hours was not relevant to SAPS, but it was working together with the industry to minimise the risks that would impact on the reputation of the country. It was dealing with economic and social stability and this was what linked all South Africans to a better life for all. The spate of cash-in-transit heists was an attack on the grand economic strategy of the country which required protection, and failure do so would lead to social instability. Further to this, the current scourge was also disrupting investment and business in the country. The scourge might be prolonging the journey of the country towards the realisation of the Vision 2030. SAPS was calling for all stakeholders to strengthen security to ensure that there was freedom in this country.
Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, Head: DPCI, responded that there had been directive that Hawks members should immediately prioritise cash-in-transit robberies, as these were Schedule 5 and 6 crimes. There was a specialised unit within DPCI that dealt with cash-in-transit heists. The reality was that some of the units that had been reestablished no longer had the old names that they were known by, and this was perhaps causing further confusion. The names of the units had changed.
There were areas where the DPCI would need to revitalise some of the cases. Regarding the withdrawal of cases, the DPCI was engaging with the NPA to understand the logic behind the withdrawal of cases against cash-in-transit suspects. An explanation from the NPA would be appreciated. Some of the vehicles that were being used in cash-in-transit heists were not the criminals’ own vehicles, as they knew the repercussions for this. Any vehicle found during these robberies was towed away and then taken for investigation, with the possibility of it being forfeited. The owners of the vehicles had to come and prove to them as to why they could not be forfeited.
Lt Gen Tsumane said that explosives were now being used, and there was a trend that Crime Intelligence was discovering which could not be divulged at this meeting. It would definitely know where these explosives originated from soon. It was encouraging its members to not arrest or detain these suspects and then conduct investigation afterwards, but rather to investigate the cases thoroughly in order to avoid cases where the SAPS name was tarnished by people saying SAPS was letting go of criminals. There was a national instruction on the utilisation of informers, and there was a need to ensure that there was capacity in place to have informers at the local level within SAPS. All police officers should have informers. SAPS was working together with the DPCI to ensure that all the evidence was solid before being presented in court.
Minister Cele clarified that there was no information to confirm whether there was always a spike in cash-in-transit heists when the country was approaching elections. The spate of cash-in-transit heists was usually during the festive season – from September up until December -- and it was unclear why the criminals had started early this year, from January, but maybe they had noticed a gap somewhere. There were questions that had been asked by Members, but there had been an agreement that these questions should not be answered here until the questions had been dealt with in the working group SAPS and other stakeholders had agreed upon.
Mr Manabela Chauke, Director: PSIRA, said the entity continued to work with the Office of the Minister and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS) to prioritise the processing of the legislation that would deal with number of issues that had been flagged by Members. PSIRA was empowered to investigate the conduct of service providers and security companies. It was pleading with service providers not to recycle all those people who had been fired for wrongdoing, but rather to report them to the regulator so that PSIRA could flush these criminals out of the system. Counceling was provided to members who had experienced a traumatic situation. PSIRA supported any effort to provide traumatic counseling to security guards, as they were working under traumatic conditions.
Ms Gichanga said that PSIRA provided minimum training, and it was the security companies themselves who did the specialised training according to their needs. This was something that PSIRA perhaps needed to look into. The specialised training was not accredited by PSIRA. There was also a need to have an understanding as to why there were only two security officers in the armoured vehicles, although the general understanding was that this was a cost-related issue. PSIRA would have to engage with the industry if there was a general ruling that there should be at least three or four security guards in these armoured vehicles.
There was indeed already a monopoly of the three big companies, and they were encouraged to sub-contract to micro and small enterprises. However, they sometimes found it difficult to use these micro and small enterprises because they could not meet the standards. The industry still needed minimum standards that were high enough not to compromise security, but low enough to ensure that micro and small enterprises were able to participate.
Mr Twiname said he concurred with the Minister that there was certainly no relationship between the elections and the spate of cash-in-transit heists, as the surge had started towards the end of 2015. A similar statement had been made during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when people had said that there would be an opportunity to commit crime in the country since the law enforcement agencies would be preoccupied by this great event. There had been a number of ATM attacks in 2010 before and during the World Cup and people had also said this was because SAPS was preoccupied with the World Cup. It had been the first time in 15 years that the cross-pavement robberies were less than the on-road vehicle attacks.
One of SABRIC’ strategic objectives was to share information with its partners so as to clamp down on these attacks. It was sharing information with its partners, but there had been some challenges in 2015 and 2016. The industry was already optimistic that the tide was turning, and this was based on the leadership that had been put in place, and the industry could see movement of police officers. The challenges that the industry had in the past been the ability to communicate with the management on issues of concern, but this had changed now. Crime reduction was not only the responsibility of the police. However, this did not mean that the private industry must pick up arms and fight, although it believed there was a role that it could play. There was a collective responsibility where all in the industry could play an important role.
Mr Bartmann clarified that there were armoured vehicles that could carry more than two security guards, including three or four guards in one vehicle. There were some cases where the security guards would be six, depending on the configuration of the vehicle and the cash volume in place. Technology in place in vehicles included vehicle tracking, a panic alarm system and other security measures. There were currently five private helicopters flying for the three companies every day, and it was huge expense to give backup to the security guards. It was unclear if two or three security guards were going to make any difference when they got ambushed by 15 or 20 people. The industry was looking into this and addressing all the risks. There were also covert cameras in these vehicles so as to remotely monitor them and know exactly what was happening with the panic buttons. The industry was committed to deal with this problem of cash-in-transit heists, and it was was taking full responsibility for the cash-in-transit staff and the economy of the country.
Mr Bartmann added that the question was whether the industry could do more training, and the simple answer was that it could. The industry was looking at technologies to improve its vehicles, and this was not to say that the industry was working perfectly, but it was doing its utmost best to reduce this scourge. It was working well with the police, and this was something that must be commended. A cash-in-transit vehicle would not cost less than R1 million, and the insurance for the cash was not locally available. The most critical part that needed to be taken into consideration was that every time there was a robbery, there were about two firearms that went missing, so it was therefore very important for the industry to be able to manage the risks.
There were minimum standards that the industry needed to adhere to, as required by PSIRA, and the industry needed to do more than the training that was provided. There was a refresher firearm training course every year, but it should also do more than that. It should also do more training based on the change in the crimanals’ modus operandi in order to protect their staff and train them to be more competent and mitigate the risks. A vetting process was undertaken, including polygraph, integrity and voice check tests every time there was an incident. There was a zero tolerance policy for corruption and bribery. There were people within its organisations that were colluding with criminals, but they were immediately locked up when they had been identified. The industry had been able to arrest the security officer with more than R1.5 million.
Mr Bartmann said the cash-in-transit security industry was under tremendous pressure and R12 million gets spent each month on additional security. Security officers were registered with PSIRA, and therefore the industry assumed that the guards were South Africans. The compliance in the cash-in-transit business was much higher than in the security business, as compliance in the security industry was very limited and this was something that it would need to deal with. The average payment of staff was R13 000, and this could go up to between R22 000 and R25 000 with overtime. The security guards were working 48 hours a week.
Mr Keith Alberts, Managing Director: G4S Cash Solutions, said that the industry was responsible for protecting the cash-in-transit staff as best as possible. There was collaboration in place with other role players and research institutions like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to improve on technology. There had been an escalation of cash payment robberies last year, and the industry had devised a dye stain device, with permission from the SARB to use it to curb cash payment robberies. The financial institutions had changed the devices that were being used to big bags without any consultation, and then the industry had also had to change its technology so as to have a device that could carry about R1.2 million at any time with the dye staining technology. There was constant innovation in place. The decrease in cross pavement robberies was due to the technology that had been put in place and that was why the criminals were now moving to vehicle robberies.
There were certain requirements that one needed to meet with the dye staining. The technology that was being used included an automated panic button when the vehicle was being shot at by criminals. There were different innovations, and tests that were being done. The industry was not sitting with its hands in its pockets and not doing anything, but was constantly trying different innovations. Intelligence was a factor, and there were regular meetings with SAPS. There were a number of successes that the industry had had because of this sharing of intelligence with SAPS. The industry was sharing the intelligence only with people who could be trusted, and SAPS, SABRIC and the industry would be involved. There was a working group that had been selected from SAPS and the industry, and the industry would like to thank the Minister for this. There was better sharing of intelligence, and this was something that should be commended.
Mr Barrett said that the increase in cash-in-transit robberies from September had necessitated the three big companies to get together to address the gaps. Credit had to go to SAPS, as the Minister and his leadership team were started to make a massive difference, and the industry was committed to working with SAPS management to address the existing gaps. There had been an engagement with the big five banks in the country in order to collectively share resources within the three big companies on ways to respond to these attacks. Meetings with these banks were ongoing, and there was continuous engagement with SAPS to ensure that the role players were not working in silos. The industry had made massive inroads in building relationships with labour unions, specifically the Motor Transport Workers Union. The industry was encouraged that there was an urge to work together on a bilateral level to address most of the issues. There was an opportunity to bring the general public into the process, as the public had a critical role to play in giving insight and information. The industry was seeing a lot of people on social media posting images within seconds after these attacks, and the real question was how to harness that capability from the general public. The industry was working closely with the banks, even on the issue of minimum standards, including the limit of cross pavement movement when servicing banks.
Mr Barrett said the three organisations paid a lot of attention of the violent attacks on their staff members, and therefore all the three organisations offered counseling. The counseling was voluntary and free of charge, and it was in their interest to protect their staff to ensure that they were able to deal with trauma when they had been attacked. The companies had a vested interest in enabling their staff members to came back to work productively. Additional psychiatric help was provided to staff members where required. The counseling side was considered the responsibility of being a caring employer. The issue of moving cash during the night had been a debate for a long time, and this would be a consideration in the working group with SAPS in relation to the cash movement strategy. Members also needed to be aware that the movement of cash out of the daylight period was not quite as simple as people might think, and there was a need for careful consideration of what this would mean from the perspective of those people who would be attacking its organisations. There was also a risk to its customers, including banks and retailers, as the companies would be transferring the risk to them.
Mr John Booysen, National Head: Investigations, Fidelity Cash Solutions, said that the current Minister of Police had been appointed as the National Commissioner back in 2009, and he had set in motion various strategies, like security and tracing units, and there had been arrests in 26 robberies in KZN immediately, and the industry had managed to oppose bail successfully. Then SAPS had appointed Lt Gen Phiyega as National Commissioner, and she had closed down the tactical response team (TRT) and the tracing unit. Fortunately, there was now a new Minister and one could feel the energy within the SAPS about policing.
Mr Bartmann had conceded that there was collusion within the industry, but there was a need to be mindful that there were cases where security officers were coerced to collude with criminals. The industry was currently sitting with a situation where a security officer in Eastern Cape had refused to collude with criminals, who had then gone into his house and demanded that he must collude with them. The criminals had now abducted his sister in an attempt to try and force him to collaborate with them.
Mr Groepe said that cash was not replaced if the equipment that was being used was not approved by the SARB, and this was because of policy considerations. He clarified that SARB was not saying there was a dye staining device in place, but the industry was not approaching the SARB for approval. It was simply saying it had not received any application from the industry. The SARB would like to cooperate with all stakeholders in terms of addressing this scourge, but it could not place limits on the amount of money, as it was governed by legislation. The SARB was unable to impose limits on the amount of money to be carried, as there was no mandate for it to do so.
Mr Parks said that COSATU was aware that the issue of the money might not always prevent security guards from being greedy, as someone could be a minister and still engage in corrupt activities. The issue of intimidation had also been highlighted as the matter of concern. COSATU was simply saying that if one employed someone to transport a million rand, then at least pay that person a living wage so as to remove the temptation factor. There were many of the union’s members who had been victims of gun-related violence, and everyone knew that every week a police officer was likely to lose his/her firearm. There were about 25 firearms that were either being lost or stolen, and 21 gun-related deaths on a daily basis. A gun was used against 70% of the women who were murdered by their partners. There were about 80 000 firearms that the country lost yearly, and this was fuelling the illegal market and creating a very volatile situation. COSATU knew that this was a separate debate, but it raised these issues on different platforms, as everyone knew that South Africa was a violent society.
Mr Mabaso maintained that there were usually two security guards in the cash-in-transit vans, and this was also clear in the video that had been shown to everyone at the meeting, but this was not something that the union was going to argue about. It was good to hear that there were other innovations that were going to be used and this was appreciated. However, there was a problem currently with the electronic devices that were being used to carry the money. The union strongly believed that night work would expose its members to more danger than it faced currently. This would be problematic on number of fronts, as it would mean that most of the clients of the industry would also have to work night shift. There was an understanding that the Reserve Bank did not have the authority to enforce a number of issues, but FEDUSA was also saying that the SARB must compel the industry to meet minimum requirements for transporting cash.
Mr Groepe clarified that the SARB did not have any contractual relationship with cash-in-transit companies, and therefore its was not the one giving these companies money to transport. There was not a single contractual relationship with private cash-in-transit companies to move money on behalf of the SARB.
Ms Kohler Barnard said that it was clear that police were involved in these cash-in-transit heists, and the important thing that Members wanted to know was whether SAPS was being successful in nailing down these criminals before they attacked. How much money had been recovered after the arrest of criminals? The belief was that hardly any money was recovered when these criminals were arrested. It was clear that criminals were doubling up their efforts, and some of the bombs that were being used were surely coming from the SANDF and the mines. Had there been any success rate in dealing with this? Was this spate of cash-in-transit heists driven by South Africans or foreign nationals? Was SAPS able to determine the origin of the firearms? Where were these firearms coming from?
Ms Mmola asked about the key findings of the research that had been conducted by PSIRA. It was unclear if the three security companies were using helicopters to accompany their cash vans. Two security officers in a van were certainly not enough. Why was the industry risking people’s lives? It was impossible to transport R1 million with two security guards.
Mr Maake requested more information on the presentation that had been made by PSIRA in relation to issues of transformation and empowerment of women in the industry, and whether this meant the involvement of women as cash-in-transit security guards, or in other areas of the industry.
Ms Mabija wanted to know if SABRIC was working closely with SAPS in the sharing of information, statistics and other key strategic issues. SAPS should provide the Committee with statistics on the number of fatalities of security officers during cash-in-transit heists.
Ms Molebatsi commented that it had been indicated that some security officers were armed with semi-automatic rifles, and the question was why it was just some security officers and not all of them. Why not provide additional security guards? Why was the industry not escorting vehicles? It was quite clear that trauma counseling within the industry did not exist. The Committee should be provided with a timeframe on the provision of trauma counseling for security guards.
Mr Groenewald maintained that it was really unfair for COSATU to blame the high levels of violence on firearms. The Committee appreciated the honesty of the Minister and the National Commissioner when dealing with these issues, instead of hiding information from it. It was clear that the Minister, together with the National Commissioner, were not in a state of denial. The explosives that were used by these criminals were not commercial explosives, and it was not difficult to manufacture them. What about the detonators that were being used by these criminals?
Mr Ramatlakane said that the video that was shown by FEDUSA just before the presentation proved that there was a need for additional security guards in these vehicles in order to deal with criminals. The statement that had been made by the SABRIC team that “it did not matter whether there were two or three guards in these CIT vans” sounded a bit insensitive, as the Committee was dealing with people’s lives here. Which of the three companies was most vulnerable? Was this vulnerability based on the standards? The SARB was saying that there had not been application from the industry for the technology focused on dye-staining the notes. The intelligence within the industry should be able to neutralise these heists. Was there intelligence in place internally? Was the industry sharing this intelligence with other role players? Where was this problem of leaking of information?
Ms Mabija urged the industry to push the minimum wage to at least R20 000 in order to deal with those cases where security guards were colluding with criminals and ended up becoming greedy.
Ms Kohler Barnard also requested that the Committee should be provided with figures of security guards who had been killed during cash-in-transit heists.
Minister Cele replied that intelligence was legislated, and SAPS was still looking at how to handle this as the organisation still needed to act within the prescripts. SAPS had agreed to engage with the industry to ensure that there was this cooperation between the role players. 300 stolen vehicles had been recovered from Tanzania, and these vehicles had been stolen from South Africa. The nationality of criminals was widespread. There were frequent meetings with the heads of other countries in order to ensure that there was cooperation in dealing with these criminals. There were Zimbabwean criminals in South Africa, just like there were South African criminals in Zimbabwe.
The TRT unit was meant to deal with cases of heists, but the country now had cases where heists were happening within the police precincts. Whoever decided to disintegrate the TRT unit clearly did not know what was in his/her mind. These cash-in-transit criminals were trained to carry out these heists, and they sometimes rehearsed in secluded areas in order to perfect the skills required to successfully conduct them. SAPS had arrested 13 Nigerians linked to criminal activities, including heists. There was a man called named Thato who was from Botswana, and he had made the news because he specialized in creating explosives.
General Sitole said that SAPS was coming up with inter-country bilateral strategies because SAPS realised that there were a few grey areas. The first problem of SAPS started with Mozambique, and this was something that needed to be addressed.
It would be impossible to give a full report now on the money that had been recovered in the arrests that had been made. SAPS had recovered R1.5 million working together with security companies. There were cases where SAPS had recovered the money, but SAPS would submit a report as there was a need to protect such information. There were several investigations where SAPS had recovered the money. Both the DPCI and Crime Detection, through the organised crime approach, were tracking the issue of the explosives, and there would be engagement with the mining sector.
Some of the firearms originated from the firearm amnesties, and SAPS had strengthened measures to deal with this. There were very few firearms that were taken from the police, except in the case of Engcobo and other police stations that had been robbed. The police safety plan was aimed at addressing the issue of safety at police stations. There was cooperation with the SANDF, as some of the firearms came from the SANDF.
It was absurd that most people asked about the number of security guards that had been killed, but not SAPS members. The Committee would be provided with a report on the fatalities of security guards, including SAPS members, during cash-in-transit robberies.
SAPS management appreciated the comments that had been made by Members about SAPS management, particularly on the issue of honesty in dealing with these issues.
General Sitole said SAPS would be launching a community policing strategy, and this was owing to the general public concerns which had been flagged at the meeting. The Committee, including all the stakeholders that were here, should support this particular strategy. There was the national youth crime prevention strategy summit on 27, 28 and 29 June, and SAPS would be dealing with the de-resourcing of criminals. The one principle approach that SAPS adopts was that once one took a young person out of crime, then all the other operations were going to collapse. Most of the people that were involved in these heists were young people, as they had energy.
Ms Gichanga said that there were no female cash-in-transit security guards, and the only role they would play would be in the control room. PSIRA was encouraging more women to participate in this industry, even if it was in the control room.
Mr Bartmann said that the csh-in-transit industry was also transporting the social grants to the rural areas. Normally, the person that carried the bag of money did not carry a rifle, as it was impossible to use a rifle while carrying a money bag. One of the concerning issues in the video that was shown by FEDUSA was that the money was not protected by dye stain, and this was the major problem. There were certain vehicles that were configured to carry more people. He apologised if he came across as , but the point that was being made was that the way these CIT vans had been ambushed, it was irrelevant whether there were two or three people. Regarding the question as to which company was the most attacked, he answered that it was certainly not Fidelity.
Mr Mabaso maintained that there were cash-in-transit employees at the meeting who asserted that there was no counseling was currently being offered. There were some companies that were more vulnerable than others.
Mr Twiname said that SABRIC was sharing information with SAPS, especially statistical information. Cash-in-transit robberies were sub-categorised, and one of the sub-categories would be cash-in-transit robbery at the premises of these companies. However, this could be categorised as business robbery by SAPS, and this was something that the industry needed to deal with.
Mr Alberts said intelligence was being shared with SAPS and other companies. There were regular meetings with SAPS to talk about the way to deal with that particular crime. The industry was spending millions just on projects to determine the best technologies that could be utilised.
Mr Barrett maintained that the trauma counseling was currently in place, and the industry was open to scrutiny in this regard. Members could come and see how this trauma counseling worked or operated.
Ms Brown said that she was starting to feel invisible at this meeting, as the Mineral Council of South Africa had been left out in the previous rounds of questions. Searches were conducted when the miners were entering or exiting the underground mining premises. Some explosives were smuggled out in the waste material and then disposed of outside. There were two pieces of legislation that governed the management of explosives. There should be controls in place, including standardised processes and procedures to control the use of explosives. The employees were required to take proper accounts of the explosives that were being used, and ensure that there was accountability on the explosives that have been ordered and those that had been used. There were perhaps existing gaps that could be addressed in the pieces of legislation. It must be clarified to the National Commissioner that the Council was present at the meeting to represent the mining sector.
Minister Cele said that SAPS was clear that SAPS refused to co-govern with criminals and would do its work to ensure that the Constitution of South Africa was honoured.
The Chairperson said the Committee was taking note of the input that had been made by the National Commissioner and the Minister on the establishment of a working group within the industry, as this was the right way to go in order to have a comprehensive approach. The Committee also welcomed the announcement by the National Commissioner that the task team migration might also move to specialised units, if appropriate. It appreciated the cooperation between the big three companies in order to combat the scourge of cash-in-transit heists. It would still engage with Crime Intelligence.
The missing link today was the NPA and the Committee would have deal with this issue when Members came back in September in order to deal with the issues of bail and correctional services, as there were some serious concerns in this regard. The bilateral cooperation between the different unions and private security industry was also welcomed. The Committee would monitor this environment in the next three months.
The meeting was adjourned.
- South African Reserve Bank presentation
- Motor Transport Workers Union of South Africa
- COSATU Submission: Cash in Transit (CIT) Heists presentation
- COSATU Submission: Cash in Transit Heists
- South African Police Service presentation
- Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority presentation
- Bussiness Against Crime South Africa presentation
- South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) presentation
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