For South Africa, load shedding will remain a reality for the near future and as the winter season approaches, the pressure on our power grid will increase and continue to trigger power cuts. Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions, warns that while the retail sector is already struggling with all the power outages, load shedding also creates a heightened opportunity for organised crime against South African businesses.
Phillips says “When load shedding does occur, alarm systems are sometimes disconnected allowing bandits to take advantage of the store’s vulnerability. With the knowledge that most business systems run on electricity and battery back-ups last only a few hours, criminals can be expected to plan their break-ins and armed attacks during power outages. They also know that in many instances surveillance cameras don't work when the power is off, thereby increasing the store’s vulnerability to attack,” adds Phillips.
There has already been a significant increase in armed attacks on businesses from 16 375 in 2012/13 to 18 615 in 2013/14 and it’s highly likely that we will see a further increase in robberies targeting businesses during periods of load shedding, especially since load shedding schedules are readily available on the Internet.”
It is therefore crucial that retailers & business owners are extra vigilant and improve security to protect their cash, staff and customers from an armed robbery.
Phillips provides the following tips for business owners to reduce their risk for armed robbery during load shedding:
- Check your load shedding schedule and plan ahead.
- Prepare an operating plan for during times of load shedding and as far as it may affect your customers, communicate your plan to your customers in advance.
- Inform your staff that the business has put tight security measures in place to avoid an armed robbery during load shedding – this will make the insider participants weary of encouraging their accomplices to go ahead with an attack.
- Ensure that your security systems are connected to your standby power supply or UPS systems.
- Ensure that your surveillance cameras are in a working order.
- Ensure that your alarm system is connected at all times and is linked to an armed security company.
- If your alarm has been triggered and your security company performs an onsite security check, it is important to not only evaluate the outside perimeters but also ensure that the inside of your building has been assessed. Instruct your security response provider to notify you as soon as your alarm has been triggered, this affords you the opportunity to join your armed response provider in the process of checking the outside and inside of your premises.
- If you don’t make use of a cash management service, change your cash deposit days at banks or ATMs when load shedding is due to take place in your area – this way you don’t have to be delayed by sitting in traffic with large amounts of cash while traffic lights and ATMs are out of order.
- Ideally ensure that as much of your cash receipts are deposited into your cash deposit machine at all times and remember not to use your vault during load shedding or power failures unless you have backup power supply.
Unfortunately many business owners still think that their lightweight devices are enough of a deterrent for robbers and that their money is secured. Indications would suggest that light weight devices are forced open86% more times than categorised cash management devices..
Only cash vaults that are built to SABS CAT 4 standards currently come close to being impenetrable. Incidents in which the criminals succeeded in retrieving the cash from inside these vaults amount to less than 0.01%.
Phillips does recommend business owners to consider secure cash management solutions to create an effective deterrent for your business. To find out more about the latest cash management and payment solutions currently available in South Africa, visit www.cashconnect.co.za.
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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 1,400 retailers processing over R2.5 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.