Avatar photo

By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

CIT heists likely to surge during the festive season, warns G4S

Gauteng accounts for 32% of cash-in-transit (CIT) heists reported nationally in 2023 – Citasa.

Holiday shopping could be an extreme sport this year, as cash solutions company G4S warns of a possible increase in cash-in-transit (CIT) heists over the festive season.

There has been a rise in CIT heists in South Africa in recent months, with the Cash-in-transit Association of South Africa (Citasa) reporting an 8% national increase between January and September 2023, compared to the year prior. 

READ MORE: CIT heists: Is going cashless a viable solution?

‘High-risk holiday season’

Speaking to The Citizen, security company G4S Solutions Managing Director, Amit Devir, said the surge in CIT incidents posed significant threat to public safety and economic stability. 

“These brazen attacks are not mere crimes of opportunity but are meticulously planned and executed by highly-organised, well-armed, and violent gangs,” he said. 

Devir further said the escalating frequency called for immediate action from government, South African Police Services (SAPS) and the judiciary. 

“Swift and decisive action against CIT criminals acts as a powerful deterrent. When perpetrators see that law enforcement is effectively preventing a persecuting these crimes, it discourages others [from doing the same],” he explained. 

Festive shopping during the December period could present a cash-out opportunity for criminals due to availability of more cash on the move.

“Attacks are likely to increase as SA heads into the high-risk holiday season,” Devir warned. 

Gauteng has the highest risk

Echoing, Citasa Incident and Analytics Manager, Alice Maree, said criminals are likely to take advantage of the festive season.

According to Citasa, Gauteng had the most CIT heists accounting for 32% of incidents reported between January and September.

Meanwhile 23% of heists were reported in the Eastern Cape, with 16% in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Limpopo accounted for 11%, while Mpumalanga had the least CIT heists at 9%. 

Despite the recent surge, Maree believes CIT heists are not easy to carry out. 

“It’s [become] more difficult for criminals to pull off these heists due to security upgrades and preventative measures – but they try to counter it by working in larger groups with more vehicles, firearms and explosives,” she told The Citizen

ALSO READ: Robbers blow up CIT van on the N12

Cashless debates

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi recently proposed establishing a cash-less economy in the province to curb the rising number of CIT heists. 

For G4S, eliminating bank notes is not so viable.

“Given SA’s socio-economic position, cash is likely to remain an important part of the economy for the foreseeable future,” Devir explained. 

However, TymeBank’s Chief Strategy Officer, Greg Illgner disagreed, saying the challenge of using cash went beyond security concerns.

Illgner explained there were associated costs involved in storing, transporting, and distributing cash through ATMs. 

“These costs are typically passed on to the consumer,” he told The Citizen

He also said there were significant economic benefits to using real-time digital payment options. 

“Although South Africans are still largely reliant on cash, a predominantly cashless economy is viable and could definitely help reduce crime linked to physical cash,” Illgner said. 

ALSO READ: South Africans warned against picking up money amid wave of CIT heists

Catch up with the latest news from The Citizen on WhatsApp by following our channel. To join, click here. 

Read more on these topics

Banking cash cash in transit heist