Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says police will be deployed to pension pay points following a robbery that left scores injured in Soshanguve‚ north of Pretoria‚ a week ago.
The minister announced the plan during her visit to victims of the robbery today (on Wednesday).
“The integrated‚ multi-disciplinary action at pay points has already been rolled out in Eastern Cape and other provinces to protect the beneficiaries. Next week we will hold meetings in other provinces to step up security‚” she said.
A total of 13 people‚ including two Fidelity cash-in-transit security guards‚ sustained gunshot wounds when a gang of about 10 accosted guards delivering cash at a pension pay point at Soshanguve Plaza last week Wednesday‚ making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Dlamini said the majority of those injured were the elderly‚ shot on the lower body‚ with the oldest victim aged 90.
The minister first visited 28-year-old Samuel Malemela‚ who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the back at George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-rankuwa and proceeded to Soshanguve to visit Wilhelmina Skhosana‚ 85‚ who was shot on the left hip.
“It is disturbing that some of the robbers were women…cash-in-transit guards pay with their lives to protect the elderly because they know once there is a shootout‚ the elderly will be hit‚” she said.
Malemela‚ originally from Ga-Ramokgopa in Limpopo‚ was visiting relatives in Soshanguve and went to the nearest pay point to receive his disability grant when he was shot.
“I had already been paid‚ waiting for a relative‚ when the shoot-out started. I heard gun shots and felt pain on back before collapsing‚” he said.
The bullet ripped through his intestines‚ with hospital staff saying he would be kept at the hospital for some time as the bullet damaged a nerve.
The minister said she requested the hospital to record all Malemela’s special needs so that the contractor paying out the pensions could cover the costs.
She said they will also provide transportation for Skhosana to go to her check-ups and make follow-ups on other victims who were discharged on the same day of the incident after they were treated for injuries.