Gun charge: Nehawu cop yet to appear

2011-01-27 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal Public Transport Enforcement Unit (PTEU) officer Bheki Ngidi is yet to appear in court after his service pistol was confiscated by more than 20 police officers at his Bisley home in July last year.

Ngidi, who is the PTEUs principal provincial inspector and a National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) shop steward at the transport head office, was also arrested and charged with possession of a state firearm while under suspension.

He and a colleague were suspended for alleged gross insubordination after they had refused to take part in a parade.

“After that humiliation I was hoping that I would be taken to court as there is a case number against me. The police can arrest but cannot decide if one is guilty or not. Only a court of law can do that,” said Ngidi. After being charged and given a case number union members arrived and he was released.

He laid a counter charge-of assault against the police who he claimed had roughed him up in front of his family and neighbours. After his release he continued going to work without his service pistol. Later in the year he was called to the department’s traffic training college where he was handed back the firearm, short of nine rounds of ammunition.

“When the police took it, it had 15 live rounds in each of the two magazines but when they gave it back to me it had just 21 live rounds. No explanation was given and since I had signed before checking it, I left all the live rounds and took only the weapon and magazines. I’ll keep it until I get an explanation as to what happened to the missing rounds,” said Ngidi.

Nehawu’s chairperson in the department, Skhumbuzo Mdlalose, said there is a witch-hunt against its members within the department.

“There are people who want to get rid of Nehawu members because we are vocal on unethical activities and abuse of power within the department,” said Mdlalose. Last year Mdlalose commented that there are people who run the department like backyard spaza shops.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said both cases were submitted to the director of public prosecution for a decision. He said further inquiries should be directed to transport department.

Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said it is the first time he has heard about the missing ammunition and he will investigate the suspension.

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