FRANCISTOWN: The chairperson of the Business Botswana's (BB) Security Sector, Gaolatwe Modongo has said there is a need for security guards to be armed in order to prevent cash-in-transit (CIT) heists.
This followed another robbery at gunpoint at Game City with undisclosed amount of cash stolen. In addition, a week before at the same mall a Security Services van was also robbed of P305,540 at gunpoint. Still, on the same matter, last month thieves made off with close to P9 million cash at Block 6, Gaborone from an armoured G4S security vehicle. Following the rise of these robberies, Modongo spoke to The Monitor on the measures put in place or under consideration to combat the recent spate of these heists.bModongo said the heists are the fastest growing forms of aggravated robbery in the country, particularly in Gaborone. He added that the recent spike in these robberies was a danger to the security personnel, public safety and poses a significant threat to the country’s economy. He indicated that their biggest limit in combating such heists is because they are not armed as a sector, which makes it easier for armed robbers to attack guards and make off with the cash.
He added: “We are trying to lobby so that we can be given guns but we are struggling because the relevant stakeholders are turning a deaf ear to our plea. We have been sent from pillar to post on the matter.” Modongo stated that due to the spike in the robberies, the BB security sector has intensified its focus and taken a resolution to use fully armoured security vehicles. He said though the idea is promising, using fully armoured security vehicles is not enough nor effective as there is a worrying trend that information is being leaked to the armed robbers.
He pointed out that the armed robbers have full information about the time, routes and destinations of the security vans before they rob them. The concerned chairperson added: “These armed robbers do not stop nor attack the security vehicles at the intersections because they are aware that they are fully armoured, which will be difficult for them to open. The armed robbers wait by the vehicle's destination where they are fully aware that the same cars will be opened for the cash to be delivered.” He said in most case, the armed robbers stage the attacks at ATMs.
He added that other security companies have started to use bulletproof vests to protect their guards if things get messy during the heists and others go as far as tracking their vehicles.
Modongo indicated that they have engaged the police on the matter but the escalating numbers of robberies are proof that they are unable to contain the situation. He said at the moment they are very desperate and there is anxiety in the security sector, stakeholder partners and the insurance community. He stated that already the insurance community is threatening to increase their premiums, which eventually lead to the cost of business being high.
Modongo added that rising cases of robberies will affect the country’s foreign direct investment, as it is going to be challenging for investors to capitalise on a state which has a security crisis.
He said at this point the government is not doing anything to combat the issue. Temporarily, the security community hopes lie in the police to investigate the robberies. He said: “I have tried to personally meet with the relevant minister and he doesn’t look bothered. I have been hitting a rock at times looking for him. We are desperate at the moment because there is no solution.”