Police Minister, Bheki Cele, says his department is investigating 26 cases related to police brutality across the country.
There have been reports of alleged brutality by some South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and South African Police Services (SAPS) members who have been deployed to enforce compliance to the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
An Ekurhuleni Metro Police officer has also been arrested in Gauteng, in connection with the alleged fatal shooting of a man at Vosloorus township east of the Johannesburg.
Speaking during the COVID-19 Lockdown Joint Operations in Mahikieng in the North West, Cele again appealed to all security forces to treat members of the public with compassion.
“All these cases you are raising are being investigated by the IPID. We are making a call to our forces to be compassionate, as they can to respect as they can. But we are also making the call to the nation to understand, respect the law and we all work together,” says Cele.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has not ruled out approaching the courts to seek an urgent interdict to stop soldiers and the police from abusing communities during the lockdown. Several videos have gone viral on social media showing members of the South African National Defence Force, the police and Metro Police assaulting members of the public and forcing them to perform a physical exercise for not adhering to the lockdown regulations.
— NINJARO (@ninjaro) March 27, 2020
An Ekurhuleni Metro police officer and a private security guard are appearing in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after a man was fatally shot at his home in Vosloorus east of Johannesburg. This was after the community attacked the police officers who were trying to enforce the lockdown regulations by closing a local tavern.
Police retaliated by firing rubber bullets killing the man who they had allegedly followed home.
SAHRC Chairperson Bongani Majola pleads with the public to behave themselves.
“What we are going to do is to go on insisting to the public that they must behave themselves. This is for the common good. It’s not useful for any individuals to be wiser than the rest of the country. We got to abide by the regulation. Where there have been abuses, we are going to point it out, where necessary we will go to court in order to get an interdict against the security forces if they don’t stop what they doing,” says Majola.
In this video below, Cele leads up raid in Mahikeng:
‘SANDF using excessive force’
SANDF Spokesperson Sphiwe Dlamini has sought to downplay reports that some of the soldiers have been using excessive force against members of the public to enforce the 21-days nationwide lockdown.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the SANDF members to act within the law at all times.
He cautioned them against harming South Africans and instead ensure their safety.
Earlier, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula condemned the alleged conduct of the SANDF members but called on members of the public to avoid provoking them.
Dlamini says members of the public are equally responsible for observing the lockdown regulations that stipulate that they stay at home.
He says, “You’re equally on the wrong if you’re outside of your house during the lockdown which stipulates very clearly that you’re supposed to be in your own home and not walking around unless you have a reason to be outside like to go do your groceries and your medicine and you go out in the streets and have fun that’s equally wrong. But I’m not justifying or condoning the behaviour of some of our soldiers.”
AUDIO: SABC’s interview with Sphiwe Dlamini:
INFOGRAPHIC: How citizens can report security forces: