IFP bigwigs’ security boss was nabbed, then freed and never charged
But Quenton Chetty denies the arrest, and the IFP has distanced itself from him
A Durban security boss paid to protect IFP heavyweights at their election manifesto launch – including party leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi – has himself been accused of falling foul of the law.
While Buthelezi waxed lyrical at the podium on March 9 about the steps the party would take to address a surge in crime and corruption, Quenton Morgandran Chetty, of Pinetown Protection Services (PPS), was watching his back.
Times Select can reveal Chetty found himself in handcuffs last December when he was arrested in a police sting relating to illegal guns and interception of police radio broadcasts. He was released and never charged.
The IFP has confirmed PPS was hired for protection for senior party members at the launch, but added Buthelezi’s personal protection had been handled by the police. Chetty himself posted a picture on social media of him shepherding Buthelezi through the crowd.
In December, a troop of heavily armed officers descended on Pinetown Protection Service’s headquarters after being tipped off about the company’s alleged impropriety when handling weapons.
Police officers close to the investigation say three handguns and a tranche of bullets were found, for which Chetty was allegedly unable to produce the appropriate licences. It is alleged police also found a radio scanner tuned to intercept cop radio chatter about crimes in progress and official deployments.
After his arrest and spending a weekend behind bars, the case against Chetty was not pursued, and he never appeared in court. According to police records, the matter was “withdrawn”.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said KZN prosecutions boss advocate Moipone Noko had called on her subordinates to explain why the case did not make it court after Chetty’s arrest.
She could not provide an explanation at the time of publishing.
Chetty denied he had any role in the operation of PPS, and told Times Select the company had closed well before the IFP’s event.
But photographs of the IFP’s manifesto launch before a packed Chatsworth stadium paint a different picture.
Images of Chetty, clad in a black T-shirt emblazoned with the PPS logo, circulated on social media.
More pictures show him with Buthelezi and another of him being flanked by the statesman and IFP bigwig and election campaign head Narend Singh.
When the existence of photographs was put to Chetty, he confirmed he’d had a hand in the event’s security detail.
But he denied he was arrested in December, insisting he’d had no part in any impropriety.
“Everything is wrong … I was never arrested, and your information is false,” he said.
While he distanced himself from the company, Chetty is regularly quoted in KZN newspapers as the “owner” of PPS, and a business card seen by Times Select bears his name with the designation of director.
Further, it denotes PPS’s official Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) practice number.
Psira spokesperson Siziwe Zuma confirmed Chetty and the company were registered with the body. Repeated attempts to contact PPS’s listed director, Naushad Hamid, were unsuccessful.
In December’s raid, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed a 40-year-old man was arrested.
“An inspection was conducted by police where the suspect was arrested. Police seized three firearms, two magazines, a police scanner, shotgun rounds as well as a different calibre of 9mm rounds,” she said.
“The suspect was charged for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition in terms of the Firearms Control Act and Telecommunications Act. The docket was not enrolled at court. The matter is still under investigation,” she added.
A look further back in his law-enforcement profile indicates Chetty was no stranger to the authorities, having been arrested and charged with assault on five separate occasions between 2005 and March of 2018. All the charges were subsequently withdrawn, but the NPA and the police have yet to provide reasons for the withdrawals.
Singh confirmed PPS and Chetty specifically were deployed at their rally.
“The IFP employed Pinetown Protection Services [PPS] as safety and access control services for the IFP Manifesto launch … the IFP was not aware of any allegations of unlawful behaviour by a Mr Morgandran Quenton Chetty of PPS.”