Pretoria – A security guard, father of a 2-month-old baby, was gunned down at a garage near Pelindaba, west of Pretoria, on Monday. Arrie Nel, 29, from Rens security, was reportedly shot first in the chest and when he collapsed, the robber shot him in the head. Chrissie Blackaller, owner of the garage where Nel was killed, said the incident brought back horrible memories from when her 23-year-old son, Walter, was also shot dead during a robbery at the garage, right in front of his wife, Yvonne, and sister, Jeanine in December 2005.

The garage is located at the T-junction of the Church Street extension which stretches from Pretoria to Hartbeespoort. The other road at the T-junction leads to Pelindaba and then Broederstroom. According to Blackaller, Nel’s murder was recorded on closed-circuit television. It happened at about 09:00.

“The one man was already in the shop when Arrie came in. The man bought a cooldrink and cookies, paid and received his change, but didn’t leave. Arrie was behind the counter, putting the weekend’s cash into bags. It looks like Arrie was watching the man at the counter the whole time. When Arrie walked around the counter to leave, the man took out a firearm and followed him. Arrie was still on the sidewalk when the man shot him. When Arrie fell, he shot him again. He also fired shots into the air. The man grabbed the cash container, jumped in the getaway car and drove off. His cooldrink and cookies were still standing on the counter," Blackaller said.

Hester Buys, the shop manager, was busy in the office when she heard four shots go off. She ran outside and found Nel lying near the front door, next to the cash van. Buys fetched towels which she used to “press over the holes where he was shot”. According to Buys, just before ER24 arrived at the scene, Nel screamed “like you scream when you’re hurt”. Paramedics tried in vain to save Nel’s life.

“The bastards,” said Buys. “What are we supposed to do? They come and kill you at work. We don’t deserve this. “We saw Arrie every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and sometimes on Saturdays.”

Nel’s colleagues cleaned his blood from the garage pavement on Monday afternoon. Christo van Rensburg, owner of Rens security, has offered a reward of R50 000 for any information leading to the arrest of Nel’s murderer. Wanda Olivier, police spokesperson, confirmed that a case of robbery with aggravating circumstances is being investigated.

Unfortunately being a security officer became more dangerous than being a police officer. My wife works at a international security company and it is horrifying to hear how many of their response guards is shot while on duty. They have bullet-proof vests but the criminals just aim for the head. This is purely because they have to do the police's job, in most cases they respond much faster than the police. In some cases the police do not even respond... The only solution would be to withheld our tax and start our own community police, clinics/hospitals, repair our own roads and service delivery with that money rather than put it in the pockets of JZ & co.