2007-12-09 : 'Some guards don't even carry guns'

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2007-12-09 : 'Some guards don't even carry guns'

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2008-01-09 12:10

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?from=set ... 674C622809


'Some guards don't even carry guns'


December 09 2007 at 02:45PM


By Agiza Hlongwane


A former cash-in-transit security guard has lifted the lid on the
dangers faced by guards due to poor training and a lack of resources.


Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Vuka Oliphant* said he knew many
guards who were recruited after a mere five-day Grade C security
course.


These same guards come face to face with military-trained, brazen
robbers who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the money they
carry.


'What is a revolver when criminals are carrying R4 rifles and AK-47s'
"There are companies where guards don't even carry guns. They issue
guns on a first-come, first-served basis. No gun for you if you are
late. As a result, guards end up having to produce a receipt to carry
millions," said Oliphant.


Some companies employed inexperienced people to avoid paying others
overtime, he said.





"They come back from doing that five-day course, are given a cash box
and a revolver with only three bullets to protect it.


"What is a revolver when criminals are carrying R4 rifles and AK-47s
with 35 rounds and a spare magazine? You might as well be unarmed."


Oliphant, 33, knows all about the dangers of guarding millions of
rands, having once stared into the barrel of an automatic assault
rifle while a robber pumped 12 hollow-point bullets into his chest
during an attack in Umlazi.


'These people are not fighting you. They are after the money. You are
the obstacle'
During the five years that he escorted money, Oliphant and his
colleagues would carry more than R2-million at any given time.


Survival was as much about emerging from a shootout alive, than about
being able to identify risk. "These people are not fighting you. They
are after the money. You are the obstacle."


The problem, said Oliphant, was that many guards panicked when under
attack. And the criminals knew this weakness.


"If they were properly trained, cash-in-transit guards would be
untouchable. Robbers would think twice before attacking. They would be
less confident. Right now, what can you learn in five days? If I had
my way, guards would go to college for three months, where they can be
trained in military combat and tactics, which I think are crucial. But
security companies would not want to pay for that. All they care about
is profit."



Profits


At one time, the company he used to work for had three people backing
up the two who collected money, he said.


"But the company said the cost for back-up was not paid by their
clients and was eating into the company's profits, so it was
cancelled."


Their mode of transport was changed from a bakkie to an armour-plated
kombi - with the addition of one more crew member.


Oliphant recounted two incidents in which he and his colleagues came
under attack in just 10 days.


Seated at the back of the kombi, their vehicle was rammed by a luxury
car in KwaMashu. "Our vehicle didn't overturn, but one of its wheels
was dislodged on impact.


"The robbers opened fire, and we shot back. There were about 16 people
shooting at us, we don't know where the rest of them came from. My
colleagues were giving up. The driver was crying and saying, we are
f*****, but I kept telling them not to stop shooting and, eventually,
we overcame the situation."


They drove the vehicle, with bent rims and punctured tyres, to a
police station kilometres away. Oliphant and his crew sustained minor
injuries.



Under fire


They came under fire, again, when they went to pick up cash boxes from
a bank in Umlazi.


"There was this man walking towards me, not carrying anything. Next, I
heard the rattling sound of an AK-47 from another direction. I drew
out my gun and turned to try to shoot.


"But the one who was approaching me started shooting. He shot at me
several times, but none of the bullets hit me.


"When I fell, he came towards me and pumped 12 bullets at my chest at
close range.


"I had a bullet-proof vest on, but you should have seen the scratches
on my body. All the while he was shooting, I never lost hope. I kept
moving to avoid the bullets. That's what saved me. When his magazine
was empty, I tried to grab him, but he ran away."


The incident claimed his best friend's life. As if that wasn't bad
enough, Oliphant's employer suspected him of colluding with the
robbers.


"After risking my life for the company every day, that's the worst
thing they could have done. I was so angry, so disappointed. An
investigation was conducted and after I was cleared, they said I could
come back. I said 'never'."


Currently unemployed, Oliphant says he wouldn't hesitate to return to
the industry if given a chance.


"Guarding is the only thing I know. I can't operate a computer, I'm
not educated."


Of the reported 25 percent decline in cash-in-transit robberies,
Oliphant said, "The KZN 26 (KwaZulu-Natal gang on trial for a spate of
robberies) has all the kingpins. The decline may be attributed to
that."


# *Name has been changed


o This article was originally published on page 35 of
Tribune on December 09, 2007
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
GOSA
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