The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has confirmed that it is investigating 49 cases of alleged police heavy-handedness against members of the public during the first two months of the hard lockdown in March and April last year.

In a written reply to Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament Andrew Whitfield’s question recently, Police Minister Bheki Cele also confirmed that such an investigation was under way.

The IPID says nine people were killed but an investigation has revealed that two of them died of natural causes.

Four of the deaths happened in Gauteng and three in the Western Cape.

Vredenburg

Last year November, there was a case of alleged police brutality in Vredenburg on the Cape West Coast.

This comes after the family of a 25-year-old suspect lodged a complaint of assault against police detectives in the town.

They allege their brother, Jason Heyns, died after being badly assaulted by police when he was arrested two weeks earlier.

In the video below, the SABC’s Vanessa Poonah reports on the incident:

National toll-free number

In October last year, Cele and Ipid Executive Director Jennifer Ntlatseng launched a national toll-free number.

The launch came at a time when reports of police brutality incidents were on the rise.

The number is aimed at centralising the Ipids’s communication system to ensure maximum and free access to the directorate’s services to the citizens of the country.

Cele urged South Africans to use the toll-free number responsibly.

“The number is 0800 111 696, this is a hotline number that empowers communities like never before to be able at any given time to reach the ear of the IPID. Through this number, the citizens will have direct access to the directorate that ensures accountability in the police service.”

INFOGRAPHIC: How citizens can report security forces: