Kaunda calls for tougher restrictions on taxi securities ‘Taxi security meant to protect passengers’

2016-09-21 06:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, has called on the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to enforce laws prohibiting security companies from displaying firearms in public.

This comes after the shooting of six-year-old girl Ziyanda Bomvane by a security guard at the Shakaskraal taxi rank on Monday last week.

According to Umhlali SAPS spokesperson Vinny Pillay, the suspect appeared in the Umhlali Periodical Court on Monday, 19 September for attempted murder and was granted R2 000 bail.

He said the suspect is due back in court on 24 October and will, every Wednesday, report to the Umhlali SAPS to sign for bail conditions.

Pillay said the child is still in the Stanger Regional Hospital, but is doing much better as only a fragment of the bullet injured her.

It is alleged that when the taxi was about to depart the taxi rank, a security guard opened fire on the taxi driver.

Bomvane and another passenger sustained injuries and were rushed to a hospital.
Police have confirmed that an investigation is currently underway to establish the circumstances that resulted in the shooting.

Kaunda said PSIRA must take action to prove that some security companies conduct themselves irregularly in public areas such as taxi ranks and that these companies tend to behave as though they are autonomous to the law.

“Together with PSIRA and the police, we must find ways of holding the recalcitrant security companies and their personnel to account. It is unacceptable that security guards are allowed to parade heavy weapons in public and threaten the lives of the commuters. This has been left unattended for far too long and we must now work out mechanisms to address this issue and enforce the law. People have a right to protect themselves and their properties, but that cannot happen be at the expense of people’s lives,” Kaunda said.

Kaunda said security companies must operate within the law and must at all times act in a manner that promotes commuter safety ensuring that they are protected.

“Taxi ranks are public areas and no one has a right to hold people to ransom. We are deeply concerned that security companies in taxi ranks have previously been caught in the forefront of violence and killings in the taxi industry. In some cases, security guards have been arrested and sentenced for violence in the taxi industry. We call on the taxi industry to also assess the role of security companies they employ and help clamp down their untoward behaviour,” said Kaunda.
SANTACO iLembe District regional chairperson Bongani Musawenkosi Mkhwanazi said the council found it confusing and of a concern that such an incident occurred when security guards are meant to protect passengers.

He said that he was also concerned that the weapon the guard was carrying had its bullet up in the chamber when it should not have been.

“We empathise with those who were injured during this incident and the community at large. We, as a council, would like to make it clear to the community and our passengers that we have the utmost respect for them,” Mkhwanazi said.

He said SANTACO would meet with the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association – the security guard in question is employed by the association – to get to the bottom of the issue and find solutions to avoid a similar incident occurring in future.

According to a statement issued by the provincial department of Transport, last year the department convened a meeting with security companies contracted in the greater KwaDukuza area following a shooting which resulted in the death of four people in the area.

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