Guard dies saving life

2012-09-24 00:00

A SECURITY guard died saving the life of a store clerk in a shooting in the parking lot of a Pietermaritzburg CBD business yesterday.

It is believed that Sibusiso ­Mchunu, of Edendale, had collected eight cash boxes from Phoenix Cash and Carry in Winston Street and was fetching the last box when gunmen opened fire.

The shaken clerk, who would not be named for fear of his safety, said a man approached the store posing as a customer, and produced a handgun.

He hailed Protea Coin guard ­Mchunu as a hero. “This man took a bullet for me. He ducked after the first shot and then pushed me back.

“It was the second shot that hit him in the chest. He fell to the floor. He saved my life. I managed to escape into the store,” the man said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the 32-year-old Mchunu had been walking to his security vehicle when he was confronted by several gunmen.

“The guard was fatally wounded and the suspects made off with one cash box. We are not sure at this stage whether the guard’s firearm was stolen,” said Jeevan.

Police could not confirm how much money was stolen. “We cannot confirm the exact figure at this stage, but we know it is less than R25 000,” Jeevan said.

Another man, who also asked not to be named for fear of being targeted by the robbers, said he had been standing near the armoured truck and ran for cover when shots rang out. “There was nothing I could do. I just ran behind the wall and all the customers were screaming as they ran back into the shop.”

In the aftermath, a large crowd gathered at the front of the store and watched as paramedics tried to revive Mchunu.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said the guard died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

A Protea Coin employee, who would not be identified, said: “We are investigating the incident and we have no comment at this stage.”

She would not be drawn to comment on why Mchunu had not been wearing a bulletproof vest.

Yesterday’s robbery comes on the back of national crime statistics released last week that showed a general decline in most contact crimes. Robbery with aggravating circumstances dropped 5,6% from 19 573 incidents in the 2010/2011 year to 18 469 in 2011/2012.

South African Security Association president Jenny Reid said there is no legislation compelling companies to ensure that guards wear protective gear.

“In the general security industry, security guards have to be adequately licensed and registered, and this extends to the cash-in-transit industry.

“As far as I am aware, there is no legislation governing safety standards.”

Reid warned that crime may escalate as the festive season approaches.

“Crime is seasonal and we note an upward trend as the year draws to an end. There may be [more] heists like this to come.”

Mchunu is survived by a wife and four children.

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