police SASSA R350 srd grant SA Post Office police

South African Post Office. Photo: Wikimedia Commons,

SASSA grant payments: Armed robbers target Free State post office

A post office in Ventersburg has been robbed by armed suspects, as the service prepares to roll out its SASSA grant payments for December.

police SASSA R350 srd grant SA Post Office police

South African Post Office. Photo: Wikimedia Commons,

Free State police are in pursuit of two suspects linked to the robbery of the Ventersburg Post Office on Monday.  The armed robbery comes amidst the disbursement of social grants by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) at post offices countrywide. 

Free State post office robbery

Provincial police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele, says staff at the post office in question were accosted by the suspects at 16:20. They allegedly stormed the office, kicking down the facility’s glass door and proceeded to demand that staff show them where the safe was.

Makhele says the suspects who were travelling in a silver Hyundai with a Lesotho registration plate, fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money from the post office and an additional R600 they found in the wallet of one of the employees.

The dark side of SASSA grant payment week

In the first week of November, the South African Post Office (Sapo) claimed security upgrades carried out at branches across the country had dropped armed robberies at its facilities by 45% in 2020, as compared to the previous year.

Sapo head of national security, Vossie Vos, said these upgrades were done first at high-risk branches and are continuing to be implemented at post offices countrywide. The measures mentioned by Vos in the statement include “improved, alarm systems, counter screens, burglar bars, security doors, high strength safes, and dye stain technology for cash that is taken as well as security guards where advisable”.

SASSA grant payments putting post offices at risk

Despite this, six Sapo branches were robbed by armed suspects during ‘Sassa week’ in early November. Five of the robberies were in the Western Cape alone, whilst the sixth occurred at the Botshabelo post office over 65 km outside of Bloemfontein in the Free State.

The Western Cape robberies took place at the Dunoon, Belhar, Charlesville, Pacaltsdorp and Dan Bay post offices in Cape Town, George, and Mossel Bay respectively. Authorities managed to make arrests in connection with the Dunoon and Botshabelo robberies.