South Africa’s deadly mix of explosives, extortion and organised crime

On 30 January, armed robbers in Cape Town hijacked two members of a maintenance team loading automated teller machines (ATMs). They strapped a makeshift explosive device to one of the victims and forced him to open various ATMs in order to steal the cash. The victim was later released next to a highway.

The device comprised blasting cartridges similar to those smuggled across South Africa’s borders by organised crime syndicates. Members of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Cape Town Explosives Section, specialising in hazardous device incidents, defused the device and freed the victim, unharmed.

The illegal smuggling of explosives in South Africa is a disaster waiting to happen. Explosives are brought into the country predominantly from Zimbabwe, often by unsuspecting victims who find their way into the hands of organised criminals. The explosives are used to bomb ATMs, rob cash-in-transit vehicles, and in illegal mining operations.

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Source: Institute For Security Studies