Criminologist, Dr Mahlogonolo Thobane has done intensive work on the operations of cash-in-transit heist. She interviewed 40 cash heist bandits now locked up behind bars to find out what drives them and why are they committing such crimes.
In the past few months, South Africa has been plagued by these cash heists happening daily with criminals making way with huge amounts of money.
Dr Mahlogonolo Thobane, lecturer in Criminology at Unisa, speaks about her research and some of the discoveries she has made on how these robberies are pulled off.
These are not stupid people. Cash-in-transit robberies are not committed by amateurs or opportunists, they are very professional, meticulous in their planning....— Mahlogonolo Thobane, Criminologist at Unisa
They just dont wake up one and decide to have a robbery, they plan, find information and people to collude with.— Mahlogonolo Thobane, Criminologist at Unisa
Thobane says she has discovered that one of the important factors in cash-in-transit robbery planning is the visit to a sangoma (traditional healers).
They believe that they have to see a Sangoma first so that the can be pointed to the right direction or to be told whether the robbery will be successful of not. They believe the muti they get makes them powerful and invisible.— Mahlogonolo Thobane, Criminologist at Unisa
Thobane also revealed the police involvements in these robberies. They are often used to drive the getaway cars to confuse other police officers working on the case.
The police officers are on their pay roll, they bribe them. It is not only police officers but also magistrates and law enforcement in general to make dockets disappear - so a whole lot of people are bribed.— Mahlogonolo Thobane, Criminologist at Unisa
To hear the rest of the conversation with Dr Mahlogonolo Thobane, listen below: