A cash-in-transit vehicle was ambushed by a gang of 15 armed men along the R61 between Mthatha and Ngcobo on Monday night.
The robbers rammed the bakkie off the road and sprayed it with bullets before cutting out a safe and fleeing with millions of rands.
It is said the gang took R3.5-million but left R750000 behind, but this could not be confirmed yesterday.
While the robbery was going on, two employees of another security firm driving on the same road were robbed of firearms and cellphones by the same group.
The crimes took place in the Baziya Administrative Area about 50km outside Mthatha around 8pm.
Mthatha police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela declined to reveal how much was stolen.
“They [armed robbers] forced the car off the road and used grinders to cut through the back of the car before taking an undisclosed amount of money,” he said.
“No one was injured but they also took two cellphones and two pistols belonging to the security guards.”
He said the car, which belongs to G4S Security, had been travelling to Mthatha from Ngcobo after it had collected cash from businesses in several towns including Cofimvaba, Cala and Ngcobo.
“A case of robbery has been opened by the police following the incident,” he added.
He was unable to say how many spent cartridges had been found on the scene of the attack.
G4S’s Mthatha branch manager, Freddie De Wet, also declined to comment on the robbery, saying he did not have authority to speak to the media.
He referred queries to the national office which had not commented at the time of writing yesterday.
The operations manager of Protek Security Systems in Mthatha, Zwai Qotoyi, visited the scene after the attack.
According to information at his disposal, the G4S vehicle, with two occupants, had been travelling on the R61 when a H100 Hyundai van started to overtake it and then rammed into it to force it off the road.
He said other cars, believed to have driven by the group of armed robbers, then started firing shots at the G4S car which eventually stopped.
The two occupants were forced out of the vehicle.
“It seems they [robbers] knew that if you open doors of the car while it is running, the engine will immediately switch off.
“Seemingly they had thought of that and brought along a rope, which they used to tow the G4S vehicle out of the main road onto a dirt road leading to a forest.”
The G4S car was towed for about 800m, Qotoyi estimated, adding that a vehicle from SQ Risk Security company which had been driving along the same route was also stopped and robbed by the gang.
They reportedly took three firearms and cellphones from its two occupants.
Qotoyi said the robbers used grinders to cut open the sides of the G4S car before taking out boxes loaded with cash collected from businesses in several towns.
“It looks like they used cordless grinders and thought out everything.
“They had knowledge of where and how to cut through the back of the car,” he said.
According to Qotoyi, the robbers had made off with about R3.5-million, but an amount of R750000 was left behind. — firstname.lastname@example.org