Forensic Scientist, Thabang Bogopa who is completing his Master’s at Unisa is in the testing phase of his innovative Explosives ICT Control System funded by the university. He believes that keeping track of explosives will help preserve and protect communities from criminals who recklessly use them to commit cash-in-transit heists.
He said by designing the software he hoped it would assist mines to integrate the legal requirements of explosives control in South Africa and assist with access control and supplement biometrics currently being used. The system would be monitored by management from the comfort of their office, but also help them to save costs in the number of explosives they have to procure.“As it stands now, they purchase more explosives and have to destroy what is left”, said Bogopa.
Over the years,Bogopa started becoming more and more aware of how criminals in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo were using explosives illegally obtained from mines to wreak havoc in communities.”We’ve often seen the negative impact of explosives being in the wrong hands and that’s why I believe having a system like this in place to help keep better track of these explosives may make a huge difference,” he said.
“This would surpass current methods of just a metal detector normally used and instead use biometrics to check any body part for explosives or illegal materials that were not allowed to leave the premises of the mine,” added the winner of the Research and Innovation Challenge in 2019.
Police Minister, Bheki Cele highlighted the issue of cash-in-transit heists being on the increase during the release of the second quarter crime statistics for 2020/21. Cele said there had been an increase in cash-in-transit heist figures, with armed gangs targeting cash vans becoming more desperate and ruthless.
“My goal is to grow within the criminal justice field and to help promote peace, security and justice in Africa, and also to merge the gap between academic research and innovation, and market-oriented research which solves real-life problems,” added Bogopa.