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Police issue strong warning after Port Elizabeth stokvels lose thousands

Dec 5, 2019
Police issue strong warning after Port Elizabeth stokvels lose thousands

Port Elizabeth - Police in Port Elizabeth have again warned stokvels, businesses and residents to exercise extra caution when carrying large amounts of money this festive season following three robberies in which over R150 000 in stokvel money was taken by robbers.

"The holiday period is closing in fast with schools closing and the shutting down of many factories and businesses during this month. In this period we also see lots of activities with stokvels paying out to their investors, persons receiving their year end bonusses as well as banking clerks and shoppers moving around with large sums of money," said police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge.

"From a police perspective this creates certain opportunities for criminals. Safety of people as well as their property needs to be the number one focus before moving around with these large sums of cash money.

"SAPS continiously warn about this creating opportunities for robbers who target persons carrying large sums of money."

He, however, said that recent warnings about 'tokvels' seemingly fell on deaf ears as three robberies happened since last Friday where large sums of money were robbed from persons having stokvel money in their possession.

Port Elizabeth skovels lose thousands of Rands to robbers

"On Friday, a 40-year-old female withdrew R122 000 from a bank and went back to her home in Njakazi Street, NU9, Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.

"Shortly after returning home at 13:30, three suspects armed with two firearms barged into the house and went straight for her and demanded the money she had withdrawn," described Capt Beetge.

"They fled in a white VW Polo afterwards."

He said in another incident, on Monday, a 46-year-old female withdrew R33 000 from a bank at Kenako Mall, Port Elizabeth, and took a 'jikeleza' taxi back to Westville, Kwadwesi, at about 10:00.

"Just before reaching her destination, two unknown other males that were also in the taxi produced a firearm and pointed at the victim before pulling the envelope containing the cash from inside her pants," Capt Beetge added.

"They ordered the taxi to stop and then got into a silver VW Polo and fled the scene."

In the the third incident on Tuesday, another woman was robbed of stokvel money in Ntlobo Street, NU12, Motherwell.

"The victim, a 40 year old female, took a taxi to Ntlobo street after withdrawing R44 000 at a bank. Shortly after her arrival at her destination, at 16:50, she was robbed by four armed suspects, who seemed to know that she had the money on her," Capt Beetge said.

"They fled the scene afterwards in a white vehicle."

Robbers seem to have known victims had money on them

Capt Beetge said that from these incidents, it is clear that the robbers knew that their victims were having large sums of money on them.

"We need the community, especially the investors towards these stokvels to pay attention to police warnings as they are the ones that suffer in the process when the money is stolen or robbed, he added.

"We have also identified a tendency where the organisers of these stokvels also become 'skoppers' with the money in order to 'grow' the investment.

"Lending out these funds in order to increase the investment is however an illegal operation as these stokvel organisers are not 'registered financial service providers'."

He said that the SAPS is warning communities to also do research into these 'stokvel savings clubs' before joining and later becoming victims by losing all their money contributions.

"By ignoring safety warnings such as not to move around having large sums of money and rather using electronic banking to distribute these funds, incidents like these continues to take place and more and more people loose their savings moneys," Capt Beetge said.

"Other persons such as banking clerks should also arrange for security escourts when doing banking of cash.
Any person needing more information or assistance can contact their closest police station to ensure a safer festive season."

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