by Cape Media Corporation

Video: Grant Dunnington

SA's cash-in-transit king

With almost R80-million worth of banknotes in circulation, cash remains the primary currency in South Africa. And when cash is king, security is key.

The dynamic nature of risk combined with the evolving methods of criminals make the effective protection of cash a significant challenge, particularly for businesses operating within the retail sector.

Against this backdrop a proactive approach to security and risk management is essential in order to keep organisations safe and secure, prevent losses and, where losses do occur, ensure the impact is limited.

While the liquid nature of cash means no business can entirely secure itself against loss due to criminal activity, there are a number of processes and systems that can, and should be introduced to achieve an acceptable measure of risk mitigation.

Although there’s been a reported decrease in CIT heists over the last couple of years, retailers are not immune to attacks and should take the time to ramp up their security and be alert to suspicious activities on their premises.

The challenges and successes of working within the South African framework:

Research has shown that cash in transit crimes are still high and average approximately 200 incidents per annum. In the UK, statistics indicate that crimes committed against the cash in transit industry average approximately 400 per annum.

Even though South Africa’s statistics are relatively low compared to the UK, South Africa’s statistics are still relatively high when compared to the rest of the world. The level of violence in South Africa is also higher; with the risk of loss of life posing a major threat.

Research further reveals that most attacks are generally high on Mondays between 09:00 and midday with a subsequent increase in cross pavement hits referring to the time from when the cash is transported from the store to the vehicle. 

As a result of the risks presented to the cash industry, in order to protect employees and to safeguard the assets that various businesses entrust SBV with, a great investment has to be made in the training of their employees and also in the implementation of their latest security technology.

With this said, efforts made by the industry as a whole, together with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre and the South African Police Service, have resulted in a substantial decrease in criminal activity and in an increase in arrests over the past year.

A solid relationship with the SAPS has been built over the years to work together with the SBV services investigations team to ensure that criminals are apprehended as quickly and effectively as possible and that justice prevails.

The security sector has been affected in numerous ways by the credit crunch; it has led to an increase in criminal activity as people get desperate due to poor economic conditions and start conspiring with criminals to get cash for survival.

Through the trying economic times, cash circulation in South Africa is still at its highest and is growing at a faster rate than inflation at approximately 9%.

This shows that even in economically tough times there’s still a high rate of cash use and cash in circulation. This has forced CIT companies to increase security measures and look at ways of safeguarding money in an innovative manner that is safe for all parties involved. 

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Issue 72