‘Violent robberies at Sapo branches is an increasing and disturbing trend’, Newsline

Cape Town – Concerns over the safety of social grant beneficiaries collecting grants at the SA Post Office (Sapo) were raised again after three post offices were robbed in as many days.

On Tuesday, three armed robbers entered a post office in Belhar, threatened staff and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Three armed men also stormed the Charlesville post office, held the staff at gunpoint and demanded the keys to the safe. They, too, fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

On Wednesday, four men and a woman were arrested soon after a robbery at Dunoon post office.

Police spokesperson Andre Traut said three unlicensed firearms, ammunition and an undisclosed amount of cash were seized.

Black Sash national director Lynette Maart said social grant beneficiaries were not safe at post office branches.

“The Black Sash is extremely concerned. Violent robberies at Sapo branches is an increasing and disturbing trend.

“The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Sapo must urgently do a full investigation to determine whether security systems at Sapo branches have been sufficiently upgraded to mitigate the risks,” she said.

Belhar Ward councillor Delmaine Cottee said cash delivery vans posed a risk and police should escort them.

She urged social grant beneficiaries to rather open bank accounts to get Sassa payments into their account.

Sapo spokesperson Johan Kruger said Sapo was serious about curbing crime against the organisation and was well advanced in rolling out improved security measures at its branches.

“This includes upgraded alarms, burglar proofing, safes, counter screens and dye-stain technology for cash.

“These measures make post office branches significantly less attractive as targets for criminals. High-risk areas were upgraded first and statistics indicate that this was successful,” he said.

Cape Argus