CIT firm turns the spotlight on employees as own guards face disciplinary action
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Cape Town - More than 10 SBV employees accused of colluding with criminals in cash-in-transit heists in the province were served with notices of disciplinary hearings this week. All of them, however, pleaded innocent, claiming they were victims and not perpetrators.
Their letters of notice stated that the company wanted to establish facts regarding allegations against them. Their charge sheets accused them of being dishonest, disclosing confidential information and/or disseminated operational information about an SBV Cape Town run to criminals.
Among the group of employees were two men, who guarded an SBV van when robbers made off with huge amounts of cash, estimated at R6 million, after robbing their van on December 5, 2020, at Duma Garage in Gugulethu.
At the time it was alleged that a group of more than 10 suspects pounced on a security guard who had just loaded an ATM and shots were fired.
Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said one guard was shot in the leg and injured. “An undisclosed amount of money was taken with five firearms and ammunition.”
Hani said no arrests have as yet been made. She said the investigation was ongoing.
One of SBV employees, who said he has been consulting a therapist since the day of the robbery, said the company was accusing them of something they did not do. He said he had started drinking because of the stress of possibly losing his job.
He said on the day of the incident, he arrived at the SBV base at around 6.10am. He was posted as the rifleman on Standard Bank.
“I booked out a CZ75 pistol and 30 rounds of 9mm ammunition. I also booked a DM4 223 rifle with 60 rounds of 223 ammunition.”
He said the driver of the armoured SBV truck, the custodian and the fourth man, left the base at 7am and after making three successful stops they arrived at the garage in Gugulethu at 7.59am.
“The custodian completed loading the ATM and he proceeded back towards, and got into, the armoured truck and so did the fourth man. As I got inside the truck, an unknown man came running towards me with a pistol, firing shots in my direction,” said the employee.
He said when the suspect reached him, he grabbed hold of his hands with the firearm, and struggled for a short while, when more suspects arrived and assisted the man.
“I felt pain on my head and knees and became lame. Blood started running down my face, and my sight was obstructed. I could hear more gunshots going off and saw the custodian was also fighting with a suspect,” he said.
He said at one stage he saw him on the floor with blood coming from him and he surrendered and stopped fighting with the suspect and pleaded with them not to kill him, thinking of his children.
He said he was shocked when he was served with a notice of a disciplinary.
Among other charges, they were accused of failing to follow standing security and/or protection measures in that incident, and that they failed to take evasive steps to safeguard the SBV armoured vehicle and assets.
Cape Argus questioned the SBV Services Group chief executive, Mark Barrett, on why they decided to serve employees with the notice.
He said: “Due to the sensitive nature of this investigation, we are not in a position to disclose or comment on any details regarding this case.”
Barrett said, however, that SBV’s risk and compliance team had been working closely with the police on the investigation.
“As we do on all matters relating to crime that affect the business, we cannot comment on any other disciplinary matters either."
One of the employees urged the company to conduct its investigation thoroughly and not continuously accuse its employees of something they did not do.
Motor Transport Workers Union (MTWU) representative Emily Fourie said the union would defend its members and that the benefit of doubt would always be in their favour.
Fourie said that currently, SBV has invoked processes in terms of the Labour Relations Act, but likewise the members have equal rights and any unfair processes would be defended by the union in the strongest terms.
“The members must be assured that if the union is not satisfied with the outcome of the hearings it will be legally challenged,” said Fourie.
She said at the moment two hearings had concluded and without giving too much detail, they believed that SBV was grasping at straws.
“The union is as equally frustrated as our members and understand their anger. All we can ask is that they allow the disciplinary process to unfold and if SBV has been found to have acted unfairly, MTWU assures them that SBV will face the full might of the law,” she said.