The July shooting incident involving soldiers, police and employees of a car tracking company on the Mozambique/South African border in KwaZulu-Natal in July has been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved.
The board of enquiry which SANDF Director: Corporate Communications, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, said would determine circumstances “surrounding the incident” was normal defence force procedure when live ammunition has been used.
“No charges were laid by either police or the employees of the tracking company, allegedly shot at by soldiers doing border protection duty,” a military source told defenceWeb.
The shooting incident saw no-one wounded but left bullet holes in police vehicles and those used by the car tracking company, who were in pursuit of an apparently stolen vehicle en route to Mozambique.
“What happened turned into an object lesson for all parties involved in crime fighting and border protection not only in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal but all along South Africa’s land borders,” the source said.
In the wake of the incident the Jozini security cluster, comprising the SANDF deployed in the northern part of the province and police, met with representatives of the car tracking company.
“They (the car tracking company) now understand how the military and police operate in the area as well as the need to keep these informed if they are active. In this way soldiers and police can prevent repeats of the unfortunate July incident and assist in recovering stolen vehicles bound for Mozambique,” the source said adding this was standard procedure and should be adhered to by all doing crime fighting, of whatever nature, and border protection.
Police apparently initially laid a charge of attempted murder in connection with the shooting which saw the tracking company vehicle hit 15 times by bullets, all apparently fired by soldiers. This is, as far as can be ascertained, the only task given the board of enquiry and it is SOP (standard operating procedure) when ammunition of whatever calibre or nature has been expended. No further action will be taken against the soldiers who used their weapons during the incident.
The incident, military watchers said, again highlighted the necessity for proper communication between all involved from those at command level right down to the men on patrol – police and soldiers.