Security beefed up at post offices

South Africa - Cape Town - 1 August 2019 - South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries were left stranded after the Kuilsrivier Post Office was robbed of an undisclosed amount on Thursday morning. Police used yellow tape to cordon off the entrance to the building along Van Riebeeck road in Kuilsriver. This resulted in people joining other beneficiaries in long queues in the area. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Security will be tightened at all post offices around the country after three Cape Town branches, including Hout Bay, were robbed on the same day.
Thursday August 1.
The Kuils River and Kenilworth branches, were also robbed while paying out pensioners.
 
According to Hout Bay police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, a lone robber threatened staff with a gun at about 10am, taking an undisclosed amount of money.
Police said a Ford Bantam bakkie was found abandoned nearby. 
Provincial police spokeswoman, Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, said three armed men robbed the Kenilworth post office, and four armed robbers struck at Kuils River. 
“Police detectives are following up on leads in order to bring those responsible to book,” Sergeant Rwexana said.
Regional spokesperson for the SA Post Office spokeswoman, Martie Gilchrist, confirmed security would be beefed up in general and not only at the affected post offices.
She further added that no customer items were taken or damaged during the incident and nobody was hurt. 
“The Post Office has the largest footprint in the country and losses due to robberies occurring at our branches,” Mr Gilchrist added.
Hout Bay post office employees all received professional trauma counselling and the post office was closed for a few days. 
The post office had since reopened and was running normally.
“We know that incidents of this nature cause much anxiety and inconvenience to staff and clients, and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience,” she said.
Drop safes were being used and cash on hand minimised to make post offices less attractive targets for robbers, she said.
The Post Office had started with a broader project to harden their outlets as targets for robberies and prioritised the high-risk branches. 
“We also take steps to reduce the attractiveness of post offices as targets by minimising cash on hand and using items such as drop safes,” Ms Gilchrist confirmed.
Meanwhile, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says it has been stopping thousands of dodgy pension payments, with 500 alone withheld in the latest August payment cycle.
The agency’s spokeswoman, Shivani Wahab, said it and the SA Post Office had adopted “stringent measures” to combat fraud.
Sassa would continue to verify bank details to combat social-grant fraud, Ms Wahab said.
Any beneficiaries whose payments had been stopped in error should make an affidavit at the police station, confirming the correctness of their bank details, before taking it, along with their ID, to a Sassa or post office.
Anyone with information about the robberies can report it to SAPS and Post Office’s Crime Buster Hotline toll-free at 0800 020 070.