By Kyle Cowan for News24
More than R1bn has been “lost” as a result of cash-in-transit robberies in the eight years between 2008 and 2016, according to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI).
The DPCI, or the Hawks as they are more commonly known, granted a Public Access to Information Application (PAIA) lodged by News24, providing a five-page document that is apparently part of a presentation on cash-in-transit robberies.
According to the document, the highest cash losses were reported in 2014, a total of R213.9m and R187.7m in 2016.
“A total of R 1 071 430 410 cash amount was lost to the illicit market for the period under review,” the document reads.
It also provides a year-by-year breakdown of the various types of robberies committed.
Cross-pavement robberies were the highest reported with 1 163 incidents in the same period, followed by robberies on retail premises at 606 incidents.
Vehicle-on-road incidents total 180 in this period.
“CIT (cash-in-transit) robbery networks are highly organised, well-resourced and operate with military precision,” the document states.
“CIT networks can form and dissolve according to the nature of the mission they are undertaking.”
The document adds that the cash-in-transit networks are usually orchestrated by a mastermind, or kingpin. The heists are usually planned well in advance and mostly rely on insider information.
“CIT robbery networks are loosely structured, dynamic and flexible networks as opposed to the traditional structured or hierarchical mafia-type groups. Except for the mastermind and a couple of trusted confidantes that may be repeatedly involved, the foot soldiers will rarely be repeatedly involved in every CIT robbery,” it continues.
It also details that, according to circumstantial evidence, cash-in-transit robbery networks in South Africa operate on a national level and a few groups or networks are responsible for the majority of cash-in-transit robbery incidents throughout the country.
CEO of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre Kalyani Pillay told News24 the institution works closely with the Hawks and its statistics on record were similar to those presented to News24 by the Hawks.
“Unfortunately, we do not disclose losses as they are subject to rigorous audits so that they can be sued in an aggravation of sentence. This means that the values are subject to change, depending on the outcome of the audit,” Pillay said.
“In addition, we believe it is irresponsible to disclose losses, as it only serves to stimulate the criminal’s appetite to perpetuate this type of crime,” she added.
At the time of writing the Hawks had not respocfnded to detailed questions over whether it had the necessary resources to deal with the cash-in-transit robbery networks its own background document referenced.