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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Cash-in-transit heists call for specialised unit – SAPS

The spike in heists and taxi violence has prompted the parliamentary portfolio committee on police to call for the deployment of more specialised units in hotspots.

Gauteng has been the hardest hit by cash-in-transit heists, while taxi violence has escalated countrywide, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and several incidents reported in the Western Cape.

A number of daring heists occurred in Gauteng, with armed gangs shooting at police and motorists. Incidents were reported on the East Rand, in Roodepoort, Centurion and Limpopo.

In the Limpopo robbery, a group of men escaped forcing the provincial police to set up a task team to hunt them down. The group robbed a cash vehicle along Matlala Road outside Polokwane in the early hours of Monday morning, police said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the gangsters drove a white Isuzu double cab and a blue Rav4, and started to fire shots at the wheels of a security cash vehicle. The vehicle transporting money was forced to stop.

Police portfolio committee chairperson Francois Beukman on Monday expressed concern about the escalation of these crimes. He said there was a need for the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to deploy more specialised units to deal with taxi violence and the current scourge of cash-in-transit heists.

He said units such as the Police Task Team, Tactical Response Team and National Intervention Unit should be strategically deployed to ensure the increase in taxi violence and cash-in-transit heists is dealt with comprehensively. The police must collaborate with security companies so as to defeat the heist gangs and to deal with the taxi violence instigators.

“The killing of an innocent school learner in KwaZulu-Natal in the cross-fire of a cash-in-transit robbery this morning is an indication that unconventional and extraordinary steps are required from law-enforcement agencies to deal with the current situation,” Beukman said.

On behalf of his committee, Beukman conveyed sincere condolences to the bereaved family and community members.

“The murders over the weekend in Cape Town are worrying in the context of the high number of commuters that use taxis daily. The lives of the majority of our people are put at risk as a result of these apparent disagreements within the associations,” Beukman said.

Beukman suggested that crime intelligence must be boosted in the affected areas. He condemned what he termed a “small band of well-armed and -resourced” criminal syndicates.

“The National Development Plan is very clear that technology should be used optimally by the police service to deal with crime effectively,” he said

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Cash-in-transit Police taxi violence

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