‘Cowboys’ in spotlight

2010-04-12 00:00

JUST days before the persistent “blue light” abuse by security personnel is to be debated at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, the first positive message involving the “blue light brigade” in recent months was presented at the legislature last Friday.

The incident in question, which was presented to the legislature by deputy chief whip Lizzy Tshabalala as part of the motions to be raised in the next sitting of the legislature, involved the usage of the “blue light” by security personnel attached to deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthiumkhulu to avert possible disastrous road carnage after an accident near the Mariannhill toll plaza last Thursday.

Mthimkhulu said that just after passing the toll plaza, they saw a white substance on the road surface and a truck blocking the road ahead.

“My driver stopped and we went to investigate and discovered that two trucks had collided and that resulted in the spillage of maize and soya on the ground. Immediately after that, my security personnel turned on the blue lights and help alert traffic to the incident ahead until the arrival of traffic officers and ambulances.

“The usage of the blue light averted a serious accident as cars were already sliding on the maize and soya spillage,” Mthimkhulu said.

This appears to be the first positive incident involving the use of blue lights as the past months had been dominated by stories of the abuse of blue lights.

This abuse prompted Democratic Alliance (DA) member of the provincial legislature and the party’s provincial spokesman on transport Radley Keys to lodge an interpellation before the legislature to debate the alleged abuse of blue lights by security personnel.

A number of incidents have been reported in The Witness and in other media regarding this issue.

The alleged abuse involves members of the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the special unit in the Transport Department as well as members of the SAPS (including the VIP protection unit).

“Some members of the special units and the RTI, and members of the SAPS have shown scant regard for law abiding citizens and have displayed an arrogance resulting in assault, insult and injury to persons and property …”

The interpellation — expected to be debated on Wednesday — goes on to call on the MEC to “take urgent action to rid his department of members who abuse the rights of citizens by assisting the prosecution where criminal cases have been laid, instituting disciplinary action against those accused and ensuring members found guilty no longer are employed in his departments”.

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