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Truck Driver Who Shot at Robber at Tongaat Toll Gate May Face Charges

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Amidst the celebrations on social media after a truck driver shot at a suspect who robbed him at the Tongaat toll gate, he could end up facing charges.

This is according to KwaZulu-Natal SAPS spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda, who said the circumstances will determine if he will be charged or not.

The incident, which took place on May 4, 2024, was captured on video and subsequently shared on social media on May 15, 2024, where it garnered widespread attention and support from the public.

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Crime Against Truckers

For long, the logistics sector in South Africa has been a soft target for robbers, prompting many truck drivers to arm themselves for protection.

Gugu Sokhela, Secretary of the All Truck Driver Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDF-ASA), highlighted the perils faced by truck drivers today.

“These days, being a truck driver is an extremely dangerous job. Truck drivers know they are not safe out there. We also cannot blame a lack of law enforcement as the road area is too vast to cover or monitor. Criminals know this and take advantage. Attacks happen when drivers stop to stretch their legs or relieve themselves. Just overall, in the industry, it is far more dangerous to be a truck driver,” Sokhela explained.

Legal Implications of Self-Defence

Despite public support for the truck driver’s actions, Netshiunda stated that the driver could face serious charges, depending on the investigation’s outcome.

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“When you discharge a firearm, you either face a charge of murder or attempted murder, unless it is proven that you acted in self-defence. There is a plan to police all major routes to prevent and combat any criminal activity on the road,” said Colonel Netshiunda.

Advice for Truck Drivers on Firearm Use

Given the legal complexities surrounding self-defence in South Africa, truck drivers must understand the law before resorting to using firearms. According to South African law, self-defence can only be justified if:

  • Imminent Threat: There must be an immediate and credible threat to your life or serious bodily harm.
  • Proportional Response: The force used must be proportional to the threat faced.
  • Last Resort: Firearm use should be the last resort after all other options have been exhausted or are not feasible.

Precautionary Measures

Truck drivers are advised to take several precautionary measures to ensure their safety and compliance with the law:

  • Install Dashcams: Multiple cameras can provide comprehensive evidence during an incident, capturing both internal and external views.
  • Training: Undertake proper firearm training and understand the legal use of firearms.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up to date with legal requirements and self-defence laws.
  • Non-lethal Alternatives: Consider carrying non-lethal self-defence tools such as pepper spray.

While the urge to protect oneself in dangerous situations is understandable, truck drivers need to be aware of the legal ramifications of using firearms. Vigilance, preparation, and a thorough understanding of self-defence laws can help in ensuring their safety and protecting them from potential legal consequences.

South African roads are perilous for truck drivers, but with the right precautions and knowledge, they can better navigate these challenges without overstepping legal boundaries.

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