South Africa: Guarding Against Robberies for a Safer Festive Season

press release

Media Statement

Office of the Provincial Commissioner Eastern Cape

NELSON MANDELA BAY - The holiday period is closing in fast with schools closing and the shutting down of many factories and businesses during this month. In this period we also see lots of activities with stokvels paying out to their investors, persons receiving their yearend bonuses as well as banking clerks and shoppers moving around with large sums of money.

From a police perspective this creates certain opportunities for criminals. Safety of people as well as their property needs to be the number one focus before moving around with these large sums of cash money. SAPS continuously warn about this creating opportunities for robbers who target persons carrying large sums of money.

Recent warnings about "stokvels" have however felt on deaf ears as three incidents happened since last Friday where large sums of money were robbed from persons having stokvel money in their possession

On Friday, 29 October 2019, a 40-year-old female withdrew R122 000 from the bank and went back to her home in Njakazi Street, NU9, Motherwell. Shortly after returning home at 13:30, 3 suspects armed with 2 firearms barged into the house and went straight for her and demanded the money. They fled in a white VW Polo afterwards.

On Monday, 02 December 2019, a 46-year-old female withdrew R33 000 from a bank at Kenako Mall and took a "jikeleza" taxi back to Westville, Kwadwesi at about 10:00. Just before reaching her destination, two unknown other males that were also in the taxi produced a fire arm, gun pointed the victim and pulled the envelope containing the cash from inside her pants. They ordered the taxi to stop and then got into a silver VW Polo and fled the scene.

The third incident happened yesterday, 03 December in Ntlobo Street, NU12, Motherwell. The victim, a 40-year-old female, took a taxi to Ntlobo street after withdrawing R44 000 at a bank. Shortly after her arrival at her destination at 16:50 she was robbed by 4 armed suspects who seemed to know that she had the money on her. They fled the scene afterwards in a white vehicle.

From these incidents it is clear that the robbers knew that their victims were having large sums of money on them.

We need the community, especially the investors towards these stokvels to pay attention to police warnings as they are the ones that suffer in the process when the money is stolen or robbed.

We have also identified a tendency where the organisers of these stokvels also become "skoppers" with the money in order to "grow" the investment. Lending out these funds in order to increase the investment is however an illegal operation as these stokvel organisers are not "registered financial service providers".

The SAPS needs to warn our communities to also do research into these "stokvel savings clubs" before joining and later becoming victims by losing all their money contributions.

By ignoring safety warnings such as not to move around having large sums of money and rather using electronic banking to distribute these funds, incidents like these continues to take place and more and more people lose their savings moneys. Other persons such as banking clerks should also arrange for security escorts when doing banking of cash.

Any person needing more information or assistance can contact their closest police station to ensure a safer festive season.

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