15 March 2013
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has described the latest incident of alleged police brutality, in Lomanyaneng in North West province, as an embarrassment to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Mthethwa, adding his voice to a chorus of condemnation of recent incidents of police brutality in the country, said police officers should be working with communities, fighting crime within the framework of the law, and not abusing the law.
“We condemn any act of police brutality as such incidents are not what we want to see or want to become accustomed to, in a democracy that is bound by the rule of law, and where we have many dedicated police officers who continue to serve with excellence,” Mthethwa said in a statement on Friday.
“We must all as society mobilise and sustain a campaign against any police brutality and lawlessness.
“Critical in fighting crime is the campaign to weed out elements within the criminal justice system who are engaged in various acts of crime, even if it involves our own officers,” he said.
Police sergeant arrested for assault
The police in North West province on Wednesday arrested one of their colleagues, aged 37, after he allegedly grabbed a complainant by his neck and dragged him behind a police vehicle for about 100 metres.
According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), this was after the complainant had advised a boy whom he reportedly saw police harassing while on his way to a tuck shop at around 8.30pm in Setlopo village.
After the police had finished talking to the boy, the complainant had reportedly called the boy to advise him about what to do should he feel that he had been badly treated by the police.
The victim, a court interpreter at Molopo Magistrate’s Court, sustained injuries to his feet during the incident and was taken to hospital by his neighbour. He has since been discharged from the hospital.
It is alleged that the police sergeant had allegedly asked the victim if he knew what the police were capable of these days.
Police provincial spokesperson, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane, said a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm had been opened against the 37-year-old sergeant.
Ngubane said the officer, who had been on duty in full police uniform and driving a marked police vehicle at the time of the incident, was arrested on Wednesday and was due to appear before the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Cabinet condemns violence
The incident follows the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia, who was dragged behind a police van by a number of police officers in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, in February.
At its fortnightly meeting this week, the Cabinet condemned these and other recent incidents of violence in the country, saying they had no place in a democratic South Africa.
“Whilst Cabinet notes that violence was part and parcel of life under apartheid, it does not define who we are today as South Africans,” acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams told journalists in Pretoria on Thursday.
Commending the swift action taken by National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, who suspended the police allegedly involved in death of Mido Macia, Williams reiterated the Cabinet’s call on all communities to stand up against violence and seek peaceful ways of resolving conflicts.