'I'm always scared of being killed on the road or even followed home'
Fear of death a constant companion of those who protect trucks
The fear of leaving home and not knowing whether he will ever see his family again has gripped security guard Leonard Jones*.
Jones works for a company which he asked Sowetan not to name, saying their mandate was to provide security to trucking companies that have come under siege since last year, the height of attacks on truck drivers. Attackers mainly targeted foreign nationals, accusing them of stealing their jobs.
In one incident he responded to, along the N12 highway between Daveyton and Delmas, he was left with broken ribs and hip, and a fractured nose.
Jones, 37, had just returned home after escorting a truck from Mbombela, Mpumalanga, and minutes after he got home at the end of his shift around 3am. He got a call that trucks had been set alight.
“The trucks had been set alight one after the other. They were driving in opposite directions. I raced to the scene.”
He said he saw three suspicious vehicles passing in the opposite direction. He made a U-turn and gave chase.
“They began shooting because I was flicking my blue lights. I lost control of the vehicle because I was ducking bullets. I woke up in hospital with fractures, bruises and had dislocations.
“I'm always scared of being killed on the road or even followed home.”
Jones lamented the fact security guards were not taken seriously by criminals.
“We are the first targets, whether working at the store, mall, bank or any other institution or industry.
“One of our biggest concerns we're facing currently is the truck drivers being hijacked and loads being stolen. People get hijacked in broad daylight. Worst of all, there is no form of compensation,” Jones said.
“The other issue is other security guards and police officers being involved in the (trucking) crime.”
*Not his real name.