Commenting on the violence and state of lawlessness that started in KwaZulu-Natal and is now spilling over into a number of areas in Gauteng and other provinces, Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, said the situation has become very dangerous. “From the chaos in KwaZulu-Natal, we have seen a lot of rioting on the roads, fires, extensive property damage and looting which has spread to many other areas.”
Bartmann says in the interests of protecting their people and safeguarding assets Fidelity has, for the moment, recalled its Cash in Transit vans in these affected areas until the situation stabilises. “We are aware of the pressure being felt by many of our commercial customers, particularly our retail customers, who are at high risk of ‘mass looting’.” He says in the East Rand and Johannesburg South, for example, additional specialised teams were deployed last night to safeguard these premises including air support and specialised land teams to help disperse the looters.
During the weekend Fidelity set up a national Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to monitor the situation literally minute by minute so it can deploy air support and specialised ground patrols as quickly as possible. “The situation is, however, extremely fluid and we are monitoring activity closely with all law enforcement officials. We are trying to support everywhere we can but the situation is very violent and a number of our staff have already been injured.”
For residential security customers, Bartmann says their monitoring centres can easily deflect calls to other areas for additional support so disruption is minimal on that front. “We are nevertheless closely monitoring all residential areas where customers could also be impacted and advising all of our residential customers to avoid high risk areas.”
“We appeal to all citizens to remain vigilant as law enforcement teams from around the country battle to stabilise the situation,” he concludes.
Anyone with information can call the national JOC line on 086 12 12 999.
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