Several South African Post Offices across the country have been targeted by armed robbers.
Included in the targeted Post Offices was the Westville branch in Durban, where a video posted on Twitter today showed a police officer exchanging fire with an unknown suspect.
At the end of the video, the assailants can be seen fleeing in a Toyota Hilux bakkie.
Subsequent photos posted to social media showed a body lying in the street, as well as a burnt-out bakkie along a dirt road, suspected to be the vehicle used in the heist.
IOL reported that a person believed to be one of the robbers was shot dead during the firefight, and the police were hunting for the rest of the group.
Unconfirmed reports said that the robbers were waiting for a cash-in-transit van that was transporting pension payouts to the Post Office.
It is not clear whether the suspects managed to flee with any money.
This Westville robbery appears to be part of a concerted wave of attacks against Post Office branches in various locations across South Africa.
Police sources told MyBroadband that Post Office branches in the following locations were robbed or burgled in the last 48 hours:
- Cala, Eastern Cape
- Nkwalini, Kwazulu-Natal
- Osizweni, Kwazulu-Natal
- Swartkops, Eastern Cape
- Sasolburg, Free State
- Saldanha, Western Cape
- Tasbet Park, Mpumulanga
SASSA grant takeover
Several experts have warned that the large amounts of cash required to pay these grants would make the Post Office branches prime targets for robberies.
A video of the Westville Post Office shootout is posted below.
WESTVILLE POST OFFICE SHOOTOUT PICS pic.twitter.com/jitBF5MibZ
— REZA (@crimeairnetwork) November 28, 2019
Post Office responds
Acting Head of Security and Investigations Shaun Powell confirmed to MyBroadband that 10 of the Post Office’s branches were targets of attempted robberies today, while one suffered a burglary.
He added that the Post Office has taken steps to increase security at Post Offices over the festive season.
“In line with industry norms, business robberies increase as the festive season approaches and the Post Office has beefed up security in this regard,” Powell said.