'Share cash heist responsibility'

Private security companies need to do more to ensure the safety of their employees, particularly during cash-in-transit heists, government ministers said yesterday.

Replying to questions during a media briefing in parliament, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said police should not be the only ones to respond to increased crime during the festive season.

He said police and security companies were both aware that crime increased during the festive season.

He said private security companies could not accept business contracts and then expect the government to ensure their operation was safe.

The company that won the contract should also take responsibility and not just "sit back and say the government must do this and the government must do that, when the contract was not won by the government".

He said most businesses took additional precautions at this time of year to ensure adequate security in their shops, stores and the like, and security companies should do the same.

Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange agreed with Malusi, and cited as an example the vehicles used by most companies to transport cash.

The criminal gangs' modus operandi was to bump into the vehicles with fast luxury cars, causing the security vehicle to roll over.

Yet, there was only one security company using big armoured trucks that did not roll over easily.

These companies also paid "slave wages" and their employees received very little training or firearms practice, De Lange said.

He said this was not to say police should not do their work, but the industry should start putting put its house in order, De Lange said. - Sapa