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WE’RE only halfway through the year and the country has already experienced over 100 cash-in-transit heists.
And according to a panel of experts speaking at the True Story Behind CIT Heists event in Joburg yesterday, these robberies are highly organised.
They said the robbers first get inside information about security companies, recruit skilled people for the job and visit sangomas before they pounce.
The panel said improved policing and better training for guards had to be prioritised. Corrupt cops working with the gangs and workers leaking information also had to be rooted out.
Dr Mahlogonolo Thobane, a crime researcher from Unisa, said sangomas could become police informants as the criminals consulted them before robberies. She recently conducted research with 40 convicted robbers and 45 of them admitted going to sangomas before a robbery. “They believe their sangoma will give them power,” she said.
“They use muthi to make them fearless, give them power and strength and also to make them invisible. That’s why most don’t disguise themselves. Even after they’re arrested, they believe they were sold out or didn’t follow the sangoma’s instructions correctly.”
Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions, said the three main cash transit companies, SBV, G4S and Fidelity, made 59 500 movements daily.
The experts said following recent robberies, military weapons and commercial explosives believed to be from mines were recovered by cops. The panel said criminals get their guns from former MK comrades, Zimbabwe and hostels, while others rob individual cops and cop shops.