13 September 2017

South Africa: Private Security Watchdog Ignores Murder Complaint Against Red Ants

press release

It has been 115 days since Ivory Park resident, Samuel Mabunda died after being beaten with a crowbar and kicked by members of the Red Ants Security. Ekhurhuleni Metro Police, who were on the scene and in charge of the evictions, stood by and did nothing. When community members tried to help him they were shot at with rubber bullets. Until today no member of the Red Ants or Police Officer has been charged or held accountable for his death.

Three months have passed since R2K and residents of Ivory Park laid a formal complaint against the Red Ants with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), after their brutal conduct during illegal and violent evictions at Ivory Park, which left one person dead. To date, PSIRA, the private security watchdog, has given us only silence in response.

This complaint was lodged after events on 22 May 2017 when Ekurhuleni Metro police and the Red Ants forcefully and violently removed Ivory Park residents from their homes, destroyed their structures and stole much of the building material. When met with resistance they responded with immense violence. The Red Ants beat many people with the crow bars they were using to dismantle structures. A vendor in the area, Samuel Mabunda, was beaten and kicked so severely by the Red Ants, that he later died of his injuries in hospital. When other residents tried to help him, the Red Ants initially kept them away with rubber bullets.

In addition to the complaint lodged with PSIRA over the conduct of the Red Ants, R2K and Ivory Park residents also lodged a complaint with IPID over the conduct of the Ekurhuleni metro police. The EMPD were in charge of the evictions on the day, and stood by as many residents were beaten and possessions were stolen, without intervening or protecting the residents.

Three months after the full witness accounts and evidence was presented to PSIRA and IPID, we have still had no real response from either. We know that this is not an isolated incident of violence from the Red Ants. It is shocking that PSIRA, who are responsible for the regulation of all private security in the country, have not responded to this horrific incident at all.

R2K, with the permission of the Mabunda family, has released video footage that shows the violence of the Red Ants against Samuel Mabunda. We cannot allow these thugs to remain unchallenged in their gratuitous violence. The full videos are available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWkUhJ09LMI

We call for immediate suspension and disciplinary action against the EMPD officers involved on the day.

We call for immediate investigations by PSIRA and the SAPS into all officers and employees of the Red Ants who were involved in the violence on that day.

We call for PSIRA to de-register the Red Ants as a security firm given their repeated violence and criminality.

We call on the Minister of Police to take action to ensure the safety of all residents during protest and evictions from the violence of some police officers. We call on the Minister of Police and the Minister of Human Settlements to ensure that the Red Ants will no longer be employed by the state.

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