Security Expert Gives His Take on Wild Video of South African Armored Truck Crew Coming Under Automatic-Weapons Fire


South Africa isn’t a safe place.

Numbeo’s 2021 Crime Index pegs the African nation as the world’s third-most-dangerous state, with six South African cities among the 20 most dangerous municipalities in the world.

As such, any business is dangerous business in South Africa, and trips in which large amounts of money are involved often require the assistance of armored security vehicles.

Dash-came footage of one of these vehicles, driven by industry veteran Lee Prinsloo and co-piloted by rookie Lloyd Mthombeni, went viral early this month after the vehicle — which was carrying an undisclosed amount of money — came under fire from prospective robbers wielding automatic weapons.

Vice News asked Dermont Cosgrove, a former French Foreign Legionnaire who has spent the past 25 years working as a security expert, for his take on the video.

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“(Mthombeni) looks like he’s had about 5 days on the job, and as with those companies, a minimal (amount) of training, so he’s following the directions he’s been given,” Cosgrove told Vice via a Signal message.

Cosgrove’s assessment was confirmed by South African media, but that is not all he had to say about Mthombeni; he actually was very impressed by Mthombeni’s ability to follow directions and remain calm.

This was especially the case when Prinsloo ordered Mthombeni to prepare the latter’s AR-15-style rifle for action.

“(Mthombeni) has the presence of mind to put a round in the chamber and safety it while his partner is trying to evade,” Cosgrove said. “I’d say it’s the first ever contact he’s been in, and those guys don’t usually practice contact drills.”

Have you ever been to South Africa?

Prinsloo then ordered Mthombeni to call two other drivers to determine whether the attack was an isolated incident or part of a larger operation. Mthombeni failed to do so, but Cosgrove doesn’t blame him for it.

“Can’t be done,” Cosgrove said. “Dude, I can barely scroll through my contacts sitting at my desk.”

Cosgrove argued that handheld radios, which don’t require scrolling through contacts, would have made the call much easier, and lamented that many South African companies are too “cheap” to invest in them.

“Some companies don’t use handheld VHF unless they can get encrypted sets, and then they might not buy them because the companies are cheap bastards,” he said.

As for Prinsloo, Cosgrove had a lot of praise for him, Vice reported. Cosgrove said Prinsloo’s background as “a top police commando and weapons instructor” allowed him to recognize what was happening and respond appropriately.

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However, Cosgrove did have one critique.

While he asserted that although Prinsloo made the right decision in waiting until the vehicle was immobilized to start fighting back, Cosgrove argued that Prinsloo had his seat belt on for too long.

“(He) was still belted in with the M4 in his hand when he tried to exit, which could’ve cost him his life,” Cosgrove said, determining that the culprit likely had a lack of contact drills.

Either way, South Africa is lucky to have people such as Prinsloo and Mthombeni to keep its highways safe.

Reading stories such as these always makes me thankful for the Second Amendment.

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