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South Africa rocked by spate of armed robberies

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- A spate of armed robberies at retail premises and cash-in-transit trucks around the country have rocked South Africa, prompting Parliament on Wednesday to urge proactive action from the police.

“We need to see good detective and intelligence-driven work to apprehend the perpetrators of these crimes and work towards a situation where criminals are prevented from carrying out these crimes,” said Francois Beukman, Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police.

Beukman expressed belief that these criminal acts could be reduced if the Crime Intelligence Division of the South African Police Service (SAPS) commissioned effective, proactive network operations and projects that will intercept the plans of syndicates involved in these robberies.

His statements were made amid growing concern over the spate of cash-in-transit heists in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape, provinces as well as armed robberies at retail premises around the country.

In a recent armed robbery in Wellington outside Cape Town, gunmen stormed a shopping mall, killing a shop owner.

In a cash-in-transit robbery in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga Province on Tuesday, about 10 men in four vehicles intercepted an armored vehicle loaded with cash and opened fire, wounding a security guard. The group escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash and firearms.

Earlier in April, a gang of armed robbers blew up an armored cash-in-transit truck in busy traffic in Johannesburg, escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police is deeply concerned that employees and clients have been injured and killed during armed robberies at retailers and during cash-in-transits, said Beukman.

The Visible Policing Division, another unit of the SAPS, is critical in the reduction of these incidents, he said.

“This division should implement proactive plans at cluster level and ensure adequate policing at retail outlets,” he said.

Beukman called for better cooperation between the SAPS and business owners to mitigate any risks that could encourage these kinds of criminal activities.

South Africa is among the countries that have the highest crime rate in the world. As crimes keep rising, people have lost faith in the police with the level of satisfaction having declined from 64.2 percent in 2011 to 58.8 percent in 2015/2016, according to a recent survey by Statistics South Africa.



Cash robberies total 1.6 mln USD in South Africa for first half of 2017

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhau) -- In the first half of 2017, 695 bank clients lost about 1.6 million U.S. dollars as a result of cash robberies in South Africa, the South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC) said on Wednesday.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg, Kalyani Pillay, CEO of SABRIC said, from 2014 to June 2017, SABRIC recorded 27 fatalities and 69 injuries due to cash robberies. There was an increase of 4 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the number of bank clients who fall victim to cash robberies.

“It is shocking that bank clients, who are the victims of these crimes, are killed and injured during these robberies. This is why we encourage bank customers to find safer ways to transact instead of carrying large amounts of cash,” said Pillay.

He said the criminals enter the bank purporting to be clients and even queue to give the impression that they are clients while identifying victims withdrew cash.

The perpetrators follow a victim to their residence, place of work, or any other place where it is easy to rob them. Criminals target individuals and business owners who deposit or withdraw large amounts of cash.

“Individuals should carry as little cash as possible and consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically. They should also consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or Automated Teller Machines to do your banking,” said Pillay.

People are also advised not to have routine times of going to the banks, and they should avoid carrying moneybags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book. The business people were also advised to pay their casual employees through the banks, he added.



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