The recent wave of violent transit heists in Mpumalanga can be attributed to the police’s lack of human resources and vehicles in the province.
In the latest incident this week just outside Hazyview, a security guard was shot dead and two more were injured.
In December 2022, two security guards were also wounded during a transit heist outside Hazyview. In October 2022, there was a robbery in Barberton, in September, one in Bosbokrand and in August, one in Hendrina.
An expert on the subject confirmed to the FF Plus that transit heists are like a cancer that never goes away, and that the abovementioned incidents are but the tip of the iceberg.
He added that the accompanying violence is a cause for concern, and that most of these robberies take place on tourism routes.
The FF Plus has been voicing its concern about the lack of critical police resources, like vehicles and manpower, since 2021.
According to the police’s 2020/21 annual report, Mpumalanga’s police service has 9 516 personnel, which is a mere 52,5% of the number needed.
The MEC for Community Safety, Mr Vusi Shongwe, confirmed to the FF Plus last year that a budget of R99 million for procuring new police vehicles in the 2022/23 financial year was finally approved.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has also voiced its concern that the robberies are probably causing an increase in foreign exchange handling costs.
This is as a result of having to replace equipment and vehicles as well as higher insurance premiums. So, once again, it is the economy and the private sector that bear the brunt of it all.
The FF Plus sent an official letter to Mr Shongwe again on 27 January 2023, asking him what plans he has to curb the rise in transit heists.
The FF Plus also made some suggestions, like intelligence gathering, a combat and rapid response approach, detection, communication and liaising.
Cooperation between the police and private security sector is also of the utmost importance.
The FF Plus is of the opinion that the province’s crime rate would drop if the police in Mpumalanga were to keep building on visible policing, the proper training of officers, and making more vehicles, ammunition and firearms available.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Werner Weber on FF Plus
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