SA Post Office tightens security

2019-04-10 17:58

The South African Post Office says it has decided to beef up security at all their branches around the country following a spate of armed robberies at some branches in the past month. 

At least four post office outlets in Maitland, Grassy Park, Kraaifontein and Khayelitsha have been robbed in the province in recent months.The most recent incident happened on Monday 1 April, when three armed men stormed the Maitland office and raided the office before walking away with an undisclosed amount of money.

Media reports stated that the men fled the scene with an amount well over R200 000, but the Post Office’s Eastern and Western Cape spokesperson Martie Gilchrist could not confirm this.“An undisclosed amount of money was taken and the Post Office feels bad about this – we could not assist social grant beneficiaries for the rest of the day,” Gilchrist said.

Although the robbers were armed, she said no shots were fired but staff members were left traumatised and were offered trauma counselling.

Gilchrist said that security at all post office facilities was being upgraded, with special preference to high-risk offices, to make sure that services are offered without any disturbances.These attacks on post offices are suspected to be a target to social grant recipients and Gilchrist said that the national office was also introducing measures to streamline investigation of possible card fraud incidents affecting said beneficiaries using the Postbank-Sassa card.

SA Post Office general manager in security and investigations, Vossie Vos, said the immediate impact on the livelihoods of the beneficiaries was important.

“All such cases are investigated with urgency by a dedicated team to ensure that the affected beneficiaries are reimbursed within less than 15 calendar days,” he said.

“However, the bulk of the reported cases thus far have been resolved within three days of reporting by our dedicated team of investigators.”

Maitland police spokesperson Captain Louis Solomons said the incident happened just after 07:00 when staff members were entering the premises.

“The suspects then followed the workers into the premises, forced the manager into his office and demanded money from him.”

Solomons said the manager led the men to the safe and that is when they took the money and fled.“But before leaving the premises, they took one of the workers’ car keys and used that as a getaway car,” he further explained.

The getaway car was found abandoned on Tuesday 2 April morning in Maitland.

The three men are still on the run and unknown, but Solomons said they were relying on fingerprint identification to identify the men.

A case of robbery and car theft is being investigated. This incident followed one that happened in Grassy Park on Thursday 14 March where an amount over R100 000 was stolen during an armed robbery. 

Gilchrist could not confirm whether a syndicate is involved.

Grassy Park police spokesperson, Captain Wynita Kleinsmith, said the incident happened at 06:40, in a similar pattern of a staff member being escorted by two unknown men when opening for the day. She said the staff member was hit on the head with a firearm by one of the suspects and was instructed to open the safe before the suspects fled with the money and a cellphone. There has been no arrest made and police are investigating a case of business robbery. 

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