A bank branch in the Armscor building was robbed by a lone suspect yesterday (Wednesday, 30 September) raising questions about security at the Erasmusrand building which is on a national list of critical infrastructure, previously national key points.
In addition to being the head office of the national defence and security acquisition agency, the building is also SA National Defence Force (SANDF) headquarters and houses the Department of Defence (DoD) as well as the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans.
An internal Armscor notice informs staff of the armed robbery stating “a male suspect gained access to the premises around 14h45 under the pretence of being from Bidvest, a company contracted to do disinfections at ABSA banks”.
What is called “the incident” was captured on Armscor closed circuit TV and apparently shows the suspect walking away with an undisclosed amount of money.
The robbery was reported to police and a case has been opened at Brooklyn police station.
According to an Armscor staff member, cleaners were working in the bank area and while “guards” were inside they robbed money. Her comment was “it appears our (Armscor) cleaners are not allowed in the bank”.
In the aftermath of the robbery, Armscor personnel exiting the building after work were held up for “hours” when security guards checked all vehicles leaving the Armscor complex.
Security at entrances and exits, as well as in foyer access areas, is tendered out to a private sector security company by Armscor.
Suggestions have been made to utilise military veterans rather than the private sector for this work. Military analyst Helmoed Heitman is on record as saying it would provide income for old soldiers wanting to contribute with their experience an asset, in terms of attitude, appearance and ability.