By Murphy Nganga
Despite the inherently risky nature of the job, cash-in-transit senior officer Joe Solomons remains passionate about his profession as he celebrates his 23 years in the industry.
Solomons recalled how he took a chance at a cash-in-transit job and his journey so far.
“Whilst in school, I was always curious about a career in the cash-in-transit (CIT) business. Even when I got out of school and started working at a factory, I had my eyes on the job. I always wanted to know the inner workings of the guard and how they operate. So when the opportunity presented itself, when the factory went under liquidation, I grabbed the opportunity to become a cash-in-transit officer immediately.”
“Luckily for me, all my documentation was in order. So when I applied for the job, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Wednesday. When I got to the venue where they were recruiting, I got the job,” he said.
Each time Solomons go to work, he knows that he puts his life on the line, but then he says prayer and having a clear mind is the way to go.
“As a CIT officer, we understand the dangers, but at the end of the day, it is like any other job. However, before our shift we always have a little prayer because we know the the cash in transit industry, and at the end of the day, someone has to do the job.”
“This job requires honesty at all times, excellent communication skills, and a clear mind – free of any intentions because at the end of the day we are dealing with money. So we always push our officers to have these attributes.”
“Our daily routine runs smooth when we follow protocols hence it is always recommended we check our equipment first and we have to make sure our vehicle is up to standard. After that, comes the bulletproof vests and the firearm preparations. Our main goal is to make our clients happy, not only because they pay our salary but also because once they are happy, they are able to expand and create more jobs by coming back and using our services,” said Solomons.
Chief executive for Fidelity Service Group, where Solomons works, Wahl Bartmann said that they put a great deal of emphasis on training to ensure the officers are physically and mentally prepared.
“We have one of the most comprehensive training programmes in the industry. Once complete there is an intensive five-week course including on the job training which includes a CIT course – which is a PSIRA grading CIT training course. It covers CPC training (cross pavement carrier), firearms training, Transtrack training, vehicle system training and tactical training.”
“Afterwards, we offer ongoing support and this includes, integrity assessments, refresher tactical training and legal compliance firearm training every year. That is according to firearms control act 60 of 2000. Officers also have access to wellness officers who assist should anyone need help they get assigned a psychologist for treatment,” said Bartmann.
Cash-in-transit heists decreased by 10,6% according to the first quarter crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele. Bartmann said he believes that a sustained effort still needs to continue in order to improve the relationship between SAPS officials and CIT officials.
“These attacks are usually orchestrated by very sophisticated syndicates. It is impossible to stop the attacks but we have tried everything in our power to minimise the outcome and to have pro active measures put in place to prevent the attack from taking place.”
“The depressed economic situation over the last couple of years and high rate of unemployment has also exacerbated the problem. However, a lot of work is happening in collaboration with multiple stakeholders in order to get this right,” said Bartmann.
KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Free State were the only provinces with stations in the top 30 stations for CIT robberies. No Western Cape stations made the top 30 list.
Spokesperson for the Cash-In-Transit Association of South Africa Grant Clark said that every life lost in these violent incidents is one too many and just not acceptable.
“The families of the staff that lost their lives during these tragic incidents are well supported by the companies in the difficult days that follow after such an event,” said Clark. Weekend Argus