Parliament wants the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to provide comprehensive data analysis and statistics in relation to various investigations it has conducted during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Portfolio Committee says it wants the updated information following many allegations of murders and assault against the police during the lockdown.

Police Committee Chairperson Tina Joemat-Peterson says the committee has always supported and maintained the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the enforcement of the state of national disaster regulations ought to be done within the confines of the Constitution.

In the video below, Minister Bheki Cele appeals to law enforcers to be more compassionate with citizens:

Joemat-Peterson says the request for the detailed analysis forms part of the committee’s oversight role in ensuring that the cases are investigated and those found to be in the wrong side of the law are brought to book. She says the committee will then do what it calls an “expert analysis” before deliberating on the outcomes of the analysisi during its next meeting.

The Portfolio Committees on Police, Defence and Military Veterans said on Saturday that they had noted with concern various reports suggesting that the security forces were abusing their powers in enforcing lockdown regulations. They called for police and soldiers to act with compassion and within the confines of the law at all times.

They also urged 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.

Case of alleged brutality

The IPID in March arrested an Ekurhuleni Metro Police officer in connection with the fatal shooting of a man at Vosloorus township, Gauteng. It is alleged a scuffle ensued after EMPD officer tried to arrest people who were drinking liquor at a local tavern, flouting the lockdown regulations.

A 45-year-old civilian was also arrested with the EMPD officer.

IPID Spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said in March their investigations were continuing.

“It is alleged that the police tried to effect an arrest and the same people, together with some community members, started to attack them. Police then discharged the rubber bullets. It is further alleged that the deceased was followed up to his veranda home where he was fatally shot at. It is reported that there are other persons, including minors aged 5 years, 6 years and 11-year-old twins that were also injured and were taken to the nearby medical facilities for treatment.”

In the video below, Vosloorus residents share their version of events:

DA starts WhatsApp line to report police abuse

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has started an online channel tackling COVID-19-related issues and has also a put together what it termed a Blue Book, which contains a host of solutions and observations in the fight against the pandemic. The party has now launched a WhatsApp line to report military and police abuse.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen has encouraged citizens to report abuse of civil rights by police, the SANDF and security personnel.

“In response to the various assaults and civil liberties that South Africans have witnessed in the cause of the last few days and the fact that parliament is not sitting at the moment, the Speaker of the National Assembly is yet to respond to our request for the creation of an ad-hoc committee. The DA has set up a dedicated WhatsApp line as well as an email address where citizens, whose civil rights or the right of the citizens, are abused by overzealous SAPS or SANDF or security personnel, are encouraged to report these. So, we can make sure we escalate them both within the SANDF and IPID to ensure that action is taken against members who do not follow the requirement of what professional policing looks like in a constitutional country underpinned by the Bill of Rights.”

In the video below, is a report on appeals for the police and SANDF to exercise restraint when enforcing lockdown regulations: