Burnt out cars in Phoenix following violence that engulfed the community on July 15 2021 in Durban. Photo: Gallo Images
Former owner of a Phoenix based security company, has defended his video where he instructed residents to surround and barricade Phoenix during the unrest.
Glen Naidoo, who co-founded the KZN VIP Security Company in 2005 said he stepped down from his position shortly after the July unrest.
Naidoo was speaking during the national investigation hearing by the South African Human Rights Commission, held in Durban on Thursday.
Naidoo told the commission that on July 12, his office was flooded with calls as residents were panicking regarding the looting.
Naidoo said the staff at his offices then asked him to send an urgent message to the community urging them not to panic. At the time, all SAPS lines were blocked, and they couldn’t get through to them, said Naidoo.
A video was taken and shared on the company Facebook group where it went viral and got millions of views As a result, the community responded to Naidoo’s call.
In a video, which the Witness has seen, Naidoo urged Phoenix residents to surround and barricade Phoenix. Naidoo told the community to form a civil defence force, as the police were under-resourced.
He then gave directions about a number of roads that needed to be closed, including the number of people needed there.
“You must do whatever you think it’s right and in your power to assist the community,” Naidoo told the community in a video.
Speaking during the hearing, Naidoo said he had also received reliable information that Inanda, KwaMashu, Bhambayi, and Zwelisha residents were gathering to come and loot in Phoenix.
“Almost every single street had bricks, burning tyres, and trees. I did not expect to see what I saw. I didn’t use the word legally in my video because I didn’t expect people to do anything criminal. If I tell you to do something, I expect you to act in the confines of the law,” said Naidoo.
Naidoo told the commission that Phoenix was a short cut for many residents from Nanda, KwaMashu, Zwelisha, and Bhambayi to use when going to Mhlanga and Mount Edgecombe.
The commission, however, asked Naidoo who owns the roads in Phoenix, and he said “I think it’s the government and all citizens are allowed to use the road to travel wherever they want to.”
“In the video, you called for people to set up barricades. Are members of the public allowed to set up barricades and checkpoints on public roads?” asked the commission.
Naidoo said: “Legally, no. But under the circumstances that prevailed, I’m going to say yes. In my view, it was legal. In the absence of the people that are paid to protect you. Any ordinary person would have done the same thing that I have said.”
The aim and purpose of the barricades that were put in place was to protect Phoenix from being attacked and looted, said Naidoo.
“Yes, things went horribly wrong and people died, but I can’t be held liable. Those people who have done that must face the law accordingly,” said Naidoo.
The hearings are still ongoing.
*The photograph posted in the original story has been replaced.