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16 Oct 2006 17:41
Police undertook on Monday to explore all avenues to ensure that cash-in-transit security guards are able to transport money in a safer environment.
“Our main objective will be to create a safe and secure environment for the cash-in-transit guards,” said national police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo in a statement released after a meeting between cash-in-transit guard unions and police Commissioner Jackie Selebi in Pretoria on Monday.
“At this stage we cannot give specifics as to how this will be done, but there will be cooperation between police, unions and cash-in-transit companies.”
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and the Motor Transport Workers’ Union (MWTU) raised concerns at the meeting about the safety of cash-in-transit security guards and appealed to the police and government to protect them.
MWTU general secretary Emily Fourie said cash-in-transit security guards and security guards at shopping malls and banks were placed at a greater risk during the festive season when crime and cash-in-transit heists increased.
“Government, in this case, has a certain obligation to provide protection to the security workers to ensure that they are able to fulfil their duties,” Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said.
He said the union believed that security guards would be safe while delivering money if army personnel travelled with cash-in-transit vehicles between towns and if there was stronger police visibility in suburban areas.
“This will not just protect the security guards, but holiday makers on the roads and shoppers in the malls as well.
“A strong police undercover programme will deal effectively with deterring and pre-empting attacks,” said George.
The MWTU warned that cash-in-transit security guards would go on strike if the government did not take steps to protect them from armed robberies.
“We will not hesitate to strike if something is not done to stop this carnage and murder, thus leaving ATMs empty, and shops and banks stranded with no way to transport or receive money at their busiest time of year,” Fourie said.
“In addition, we will not allow the risk to fall on our colleagues in other parts of the security industry and will call on them to down tools with us in solidarity.”
However, Naidoo said concerns by the unions about the increase in cash-in-transit heists were welcomed by police and he assured union representatives and the public that their concerns would be addressed.
He said a follow-up meeting would be held where unions, police and cash-in-transit companies would decide on safety measures to be implemented.
A date for the meeting has not yet been set.—Sapa
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