It takes years to forge balls of steel, plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

07 May 2021 - 06:45 By TimesLIVE
Driver Leo Prinsloo asks his colleague Lloyd Mtombeni to cock his rifle as bullets slam into the armoured vehicle. Screenshot.
Driver Leo Prinsloo asks his colleague Lloyd Mtombeni to cock his rifle as bullets slam into the armoured vehicle. Screenshot.
Image: Yusuf Abramjee/Twitter

Training and more training, years of experience and the right character — these are the things that over the past few weeks have earned Leo Prinsloo international acclaim as the hero of the YouTube video “Failed Cash-In-Transit Heist Because Driver Has Balls Of Steel”.

At the time of writing, one version of this video with Prinsloo behind the wheel of a transit vehicle and Lloyd Mtombeni in the passenger seat had been watched more than 30 million times and screened as an insert by television channels around the world.

The video, recorded with a camera mounted inside the cabin of the vehicle, shows the harsh reality of the kind of attacks that have become commonplace in SA, but with the added satisfaction of watching the villains end up a poor second for a change.

The intrepid Prinsloo, among other things a veteran of the police special task force, earned particular praise for his impeccable tactical decision-making, and that with a relatively inexperienced colleague under his wing. It was only Mtombeni’s fourth day with this security company, though he had previously worked as an armed escort.

Cash-in-transit robbers have conducted a reign of terror on the country’s roads for years, but the pandemic introduced a new dimension. Because of the increase in e-commerce as a result of lockdown measures, courier services are flourishing and often transport valuable items, making them popular targets.

Consignments of cellphones are frequently targeted, and for that reason, courier services have resorted to hiring security companies to accompany their vehicles. It was in one of these accompanying vehicles that Prinsloo and Mtombeni were attacked on the N4 in Pretoria at about 10.30am on March 22 while guarding the rear of a delivery vehicle.

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Prinsloo and Mtombeni were in a customised Toyota Land Cruiser with an armoured cabin and bulletproof windows. These reinforcements cost about R3m per vehicle. Though the vehicle occupants are therefore protected, the absence of gun ports means that they cannot return fire without exiting the vehicle.

That meant that Prinsloo's only weapon was his vehicle, and his skills as a defensive driver can clearly be seen in the video. After some fancy swerving, he drives over the traffic island, knowing the attackers' Audi would not be able to make it.  

Some of Prinsloo's former colleagues told Vrye Weekblad that you can see his experience in the video, and one of them added that from the position of the cracks in the window, it was clear that the attackers were aiming for his head. 

Read more about this close call and more news and analysis this week in Vrye Weekblad.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

#FARCEABOUTACE | The suspension of Ace Magashule hit the ANC like a political streak of lightning, writes Max du Preez. But does this spell the end for the RET faction and will a new, better and cleaner ANC emerge on the other side of such a rupture?

SMALL FRY | Cyril Ramaphosa has just suspended his so-called systemic approach to cleaning up the ANC and the state to consolidate his political power base. Piet Croucamp considers the political risk that accompanies this suspension.

OF COURSE BLACK WOMEN SWIM | Nobody in her family can really swim. Like breaststroke or butterfly or even rondjies in the pool. But some who grew up the same way as Anesca Smith are killing the fear of water on the Cape Flats. 

BLUE-BLOODED | Lindiwe Sisulu is one of the few female cadres who took part in the negotiations in Kempton Park, and she has served in the cabinet for 23 years. We take a look at the princess who would be president.

ON THE SPECTRUM | No-one suffers from autism. It is not a disease and there is no cure. This is just one of several ways in which people with this neuro-developmental condition are misunderstood.