SA businesses remain in the danger zone.

Today, national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, announced the national crime statistics for 2014/15 highlighting another significant increase in business robberies - alarming news for South Africa’s retail sector is that crime against businesses continues to rise.

Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions says, “All indications are that not only has the number of attacks increased, but the level of violence as well. Armed robbery against businesses for the 2014/15 financial year shows that there were 19,170 robberies against businesses in South Africa and an overall increase of 337% over the past 10 years.

“The reality is that this equates to 52 robberies on South African businesses per day. Retail stores where cash is the dominant medium of payment are particularly vulnerable to an armed robbery and these businesses need to take action to mitigate this risk. At this point in time nothing suggests an improvement in the situation,” adds Phillips.

Steven Heilbron, also joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions says that South Africa’s largest supermarket group, Shoprite Holdings reported at a recent investment briefing on its June year end results, that there had been more than 230 armed robberies at its shops in the past 18 months, mostly around shops where social grants were paid out.  

“Hit and run type armed robberies not only threatens the safety of the customers and staff, but in many cases the target store is likely to experience a significant drop in sales for as long as six to nine months after an attack of this kind,” adds Heilbron.

Burglaries of business premises continue to rise from an already high base. Burglaries have increased by almost 33% over the past ten years to 74, 358 or a staggering 204 a day!  “In the FMCG sector we have also seen a significant increase in plastic explosive bombings”, says Phillips.

Phillips says, “Armed robbery and burglary attacks on the cash can largely be deflected in a trading environment where all of the elements of a reliable, automated, retail cash management solution are in place. This includes a device that is robust enough to create the desired level of resistance to a determined and co-ordinated attack. Such an environment encourages a positive and pleasant atmosphere that stimulates customer attendance and increased spend”.

Cash in Transit (CIT) heists showed a decrease of 18% from 145 to 119 for the year, while bank robberies declined by 19% from 21 cases to 17.  These trends all point towards a definitive shift away from professional banking and armoured car sectors to the much softer and vulnerable retailer.

What needs to be done?

Research shows that the biggest pre-emptor of theft is opportunity. That is, opportunity from within. Internal theft, fraud and insider participation in the planning of crime are some of the most common threats to the livelihood of any business.  

Dr. Johan Burger, Senior Researcher for the Institute of Security Studies adds that the upward spiral of crime against business is part of an overall rise in serious and violent crime in South Africa. The reality is that businesses are forced to increasingly invest in security, to the detriment of expanding and growing their interests and providing employment opportunities which in general contribute to our economic growth. As a consequence, we have all the right to expect Government to take hands with business and civil society to jointly tackle this threat.


About Cash Connect

Cash Connect Management Solutions offers an end-to-end cash management solution that encompasses cash in transit logistics, security management and cash processing. Established in 2006, Cash Connect’s specialist solutions for retailers remove risk and maximise cash flow through swift settlements. The company services more than 1,100 retailers processing over R2 billion a month and has been endorsed as the approved service provider to blue-chip companies such as Spar Group, Shell, Engen, Pick ‘n Pay and OK to name but a few.

The executive management team - led by joint CEOs Richard Phillips and Steven Heilbron - has an unrivalled pool of specialised cash logistics, security and banking experience. The board of directors is chaired by Ivan Epstein, CEO of the Sage Group AAMEA (Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia).

Cash Connect is a private company, with Old Mutual’s specialist fund, Futuregrowth Asset Management, as its largest institutional shareholder.


Idea Engineers on behalf of Sumay Dippenaar: Cash Connect
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