Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ZIYAAD DOUGLAS
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ZIYAAD DOUGLAS

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has unscrupulous security companies in his sights‚ saying these "private militias" are undercutting the rule of law.

Mbalula‚ flanked by a squadron of armed police officers‚ moved through various parts of the notorious Glebelands Hostel complex near Durban on Friday. Scores of people have been killed in the hostel‚ described as a haven for assassins and criminals.

The Moerane Commission of Inquiry‚ established to probe political killings in the province‚ heard testimony that the death of former ANC Youth League general secretary, Sindiso Magaqa, was orchestrated from the hostel. Magaqa was shot in a drive-by shooting in Umzimkhulu in July and died in hospital last week.

Mbalula said security companies offering close protection and bodyguard services are suspected of being involved in crimes around the country. "Criminals have found a loophole to having access to heavy weapons through registering security companies in SA."

He has ordered an audit of all security companies‚ that will "include other data collection, ensuring compliance with the law and those companies found wanting will lose their licences".

His reaction was seemingly in response to a video of two bodyguards‚ assigned to eThekwini regional ANC secretary Bheki Ntuli‚ flashing their guns and making threatening remarks. "We have also seen a crass display of weapons in viral videos from this province from the same security industry. These companies pose a danger to society‚" Mbalula said.

The minister said the historical effects of apartheid could not be discounted as the root cause of criminality at Glebelands. "Our people are under siege from criminal thugs and nyaope-imbibing gangs in the Glebelands precinct. The hardships here come from a brutal past of cramming blacks into cheap labour ghettos. The dehumanised body knows not how to be civil‚" he said. "These hostels removed the dignity of our people but we are encouraged by the work that has been done to turn this hostel around."

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