Security companies association raises alarm over spate of security guard killings
PRETORIA - The Association of Private Security Owners of South Africa (Tapsosa) has expressed deep concern over the recent spate of killings of security guards in various parts of South Africa.
This week, three security officers were murdered in two different incidents. In the latest incident, a security guard was brutally murdered during a break-in on Thursday night at Mthiyazi Primary School in Gutshwa village in Mpumalanga.
On Monday, two guards were shot dead while escorting Eskom technicians attending to an electricity supply fault in Philippi East in Cape Town, bringing to 16 the number of officers killed in the line of duty since January.
The two Vusa Isizwe security guards, contracted to protect Eskom technicians in the high-risk volatile area known for firearm-related violence, were shot dead and robbed of their service firearms. The incident happened as the team was leaving the area in their cars after completing work. The two guards died on the scene, while the Eskom technicians managed to escape unharmed.
Tapsosa said in a statement the "unbridled killing spree" had shown that security officers were an obvious target in a country with a high level of crime and where criminals were increasingly accessing firearms.
“The killing of security officers is really distressing. We were promised the industry safety standards last year when we engaged with SAPS [South African Police Service], but till today they haven’t come back to us. We’ll have to push to present the matter and other pressing issues to the [Parliament's] portfolio committee for urgent interventions,” Tapsosa president Jones Maphalaphathwa said in the statement.
SAPS national spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said police were working closely with some companies that “are properly registered with Psira (Private Security Regulatory Authority)” to prevent the killings.
Eskom general manager for distribution in the Western Cape Alwie Lester condemned the violence. Eskom was “saddened by this loss of life and the trauma which the families of the two security guards, the employer, and colleagues are now suffering”. Eskom was grateful that its employees were not physically harmed in this attack. “They will receive the necessary counselling and support that such trauma has undoubtedly caused. We will offer the same support to Vusa Isizwe Security,” Lester said.
Tapsosa has also asked the Psira to urgently engage stakeholders in “adopting a new safety and security strategy in the industry, as mandated by the deputy minister of police”.
- African News Agency (ANA)