South Africa’s Home Affairs offices to go cashless

The Department of Home Affairs says it is moving towards cashless offices amid growing security concerns.

In a presentation to parliament this week, the department said that this will form part of general security changes, including a decision to replace night guards with alarm systems and armed response.

The department noted that it currently has a cash-in-transit provider on contract at an allocated budget of R6 million annually, but that offices have already been instructed to move away from cash to help minimise reliance on this service.

“The purpose of this service is to collect cash at frontline services and bank such cash. In order to reduce the cost of cash-in-transit services and the risk of staff ad clients facing armed robberies, the department is moving towards cashless offices. All offices already have card machines and encourage clients to pay by card.

“The department can’t afford to increase the number of private security officers deployed at its offices. In this regard, the department intends to phase out the night and weekend shifts in the 2022/2023 financial year by installing alarms and procuring armed reaction services linked to the alarms.”

The department did not provide an official timeframe as to when it will officially move to cashless offices.

Crime statistics published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in February shows that South Africa reported 60 cash-in-transit heists between October – December 2021 alone.

Security company G4S says that while cash-in-transit heists have remained at a constant level in the country in recent years, the level of violence has increased.

“Looking at attacks across the year compared with the previous two years, the number of attacks overall has remained relatively constant. Attacks on G4S have also not varied materially from year to year,” G4S South Africa managing director Renso Smit told News24.

“What has changed is the level of violence. Cash-in-transit attacks in general are becoming more violent and organised in nature, and involving a large number of perpetrators.”

Read: Home Affairs wants to open branches in shopping malls in South Africa

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South Africa’s Home Affairs offices to go cashless