The Portfolio Committees on Police, Defence and Military Veterans have noted with concern various reports suggesting that the security forces are abusing their powers in enforcing lockdown regulations.

They have called for police and soldiers to act with compassion and within the confines of the law at all times.

The committees are also urging senior management of both the police and SANDF to investigate allegations of the abuse of power and for proper corrective measures to be taken against those found guilty.

Police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, (IPID) is investigating 38 cases against police officials across the country for alleged misconduct during the first part of the 21-day national lockdown.

Despite these concerns, both committee chairpersons reiterate their support for the work of the police and SANDF.

“Human rights should still be respected even during the lockdown period. The chairpersons have committed to engaging senior commanders in both the SAPS and SANDF to ensure that adherence to the rule of law is guaranteed,” the committees said in a statement.

Police Committee Chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said in a statement that both the SANDF and the SAPS embraced the calling to serve the country.

“Despite the challenges posed by this virus and the threat to life, the security subdivision of the state has embraced the calling to serve and protect South Africa and all who live within it. Their sacrifice and commitment to serve their country is both commendable and appreciated.”

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans Cyril Xaba emphasised the need for citizens to fully cooperate and comply with regulations so that the police and soldiers can do their work without any hindrances.

“A collaborative effort between communities, the SANDF and the SAPS will go a long way in empowering us to defeat this disease. The only way to conquer this virus is through adherence to all regulations, as set out by government, and adherence to protocols set out by the World Health Organisation.”

In the video below, the SANDF says that it is ready to serve during the lockdown: 

Meanwhile, the Police Portfolio Committee has noted the readiness of members of Community Police Forums (CPFs) to assist the security forces in enforcing the regulations. However, Joemat-Pettersson emphasised that, according to the regulations currently, they are not classified as emergency services.

“We must commend members of the CPFs for their willingness to serve, but must emphasise that regulations must be applied across the board in all provinces without exception.”