On guard, security company, KZN VIP Protection Services won two court battle to get back its guns that were confiscated by police after July’s violence. Picture: Facebook
On guard, security company, KZN VIP Protection Services won two court battle to get back its guns that were confiscated by police after July’s violence. Picture: Facebook

Security company ’maliciously’ targeted

By Mervyn Naidoo Time of article published Nov 7, 2021

Share this article:

A PROMINENT Phoenix security company claimed in court that they were “maliciously” targeted by police, “as a show of force” and to cover up for their failure to respond adequately when the looting and anarchy erupted in July.

On Friday, the SAPS were given 48 hours by the Durban High Court to release the remaining firearms belonging to KZN VIP Protection Services CC, which they previously confiscated.

On guard, security company, KZN VIP Protection Services won two court battle to get back its guns that were confiscated by police after July’s violence. Picture: Facebook

The company’s legal team comprising advocate Dave Phillips SC and attorneys Anand-Nepaul and Khulekani Makhanya landed their second court victory in KZN VIP’s matter with the minister for safety and security on Friday.

More than 40 firearms were seized during raids that were conducted at the company’s premises by a specialised SAPS task team together with members from the defence force.

Once the violence abated, some members of KZN VIP Protection Services were arrested, and a specialised SAPS task team together with SANDF members raided their premises and seized more than 40 firearms for ballistics tests.

The State ruled there was no established basis to prosecute the arrested KZN VIP members and they were released.

However, the SAPS refused to release the seized weapons which are important tools of trade in KZN VIP’s line of business.

The company claimed in court documents that being without their weapons their employees reported for duty unarmed, which endangered their lives, being without firearms also went against their contractual obligations with clients and their opportunistic competitors poached some of their clientele.

After more than two months of waiting, in which time KZN VIP made various requests to high-ranking SAPS officials for the release of their weapons, the company brought an urgent two-fold High Court application against the minister in October.

The first of which related to the minister returning all confiscated items and if they refused to do so, valid reasons needed to be given on why the company was being deprived of their weapons.

KZN VIP received 40 of their firearms after the initial order was granted but the SAPS held onto two of the weapons and claimed in an affidavit drafted by the investigating officer that the guns formed part of an ongoing investigation.

He also stated that he had witnesses who saw KZN VIP employees firing into crowds.

In their responding documents, the company countered that the claims were unsubstantiated, there were no charges pending against any employee, they questioned why no statements were forwarded by the “so-called” complainants.

Also, if shots were fired during an unrest it does not mean in any way that an offence was committed.

The court also ruled in favour of the company in the second part of the application on Friday.

It was ordered that the outstanding two weapons be handed by KZN VIP by no later than tomorrow, and a costs order was made against the minister.

Glen Naidoo, his son Gareth and Cohen Papa were the KZN VIP employees who were arrested.

Naidoo’s wife, Shasheka, is the sole member of the CC.

He said the ordeal had brought them great disappointment and embarrassment and their company’s name was mentioned on national TV as one of the perpetrators of the violence that led to the death of more than 30 people in Phoenix alone.

Naidoo believed the charges that were meant to “frame” them was nothing more than a “dirty tricks” campaign.

“We were arrested over administration issues regarding the licensing of our weapons and the confiscation was done under false pretences and we were forced to comply.”

He said they were labelled racists, yet at the time of the violence, they arranged for the injured from Bhambayi to be taken away safely by ambulances to medical facilities, amid the violence.

They were promised the return of their firearms within a few days but their wait lasted two months.

“We were treated with disdain yet all our guns came back clean after ballistics tests.”

He said the policeman leading the investigation claimed in court documents that they had witnesses who saw KZN VIP members shooting at the crowds.

Naidoo refuted the allegation and asked why police did not provide evidence in court to back-up that assertion.

About the two guns that were withheld because police were still investigating and ballistics tests still needed to be done, Naidoo said it was “hogwash”.

He said the NPA saw no basis to prosecute and the judge has ordered those guns be released to us by Monday.

“It is a great relief that this matter is over, our names are cleared and we can hold our heads up once again.”

Naidoo said there needs to be a full scale investigation into the police ministry about the failure to act effectively and efficiently in July.

He also stated that they will be considering civil action against the state for the defaming of their brand and their pain and suffering.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

Share this article: