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Cops allowed to become brutal: DA lawyer

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The assault on Clement Emeka outside the Sky Sports Bar and Restaurant in Riebeeck Street was filmed using a cellphone.

Johannesburg - A DA election advert depicts how the government has allowed the police to become brutal, Icasa's complaints and compliance committee heard on Thursday.

“The advertisement is a form of political criticism to the current government... Look at what those in power have allowed the police service to become,” said Nick Ferreira, for the Democratic Alliance.

“(The current national government) allowed the police service to become brutal and violent. It has allowed for an upsurge in police brutality.”

The Independent Communications Authority of SA's committee was hearing a complaint lodged by the police against a DA election advert.

The SA Police Service (SAPS) contends the advert Ä which contains a photo of a police officer shooting rubber bullets - incites violence against the police.

Ferreira said the message of the DA's “Ayisafani” (It's not the same) advert was plain and told viewers to vote for the DA in the upcoming national elections. The message of the advert was not for people to attack the police, but to vote for a different national government, Ferreira said.

“It is an appropriate form of criticism from an opposition party to get people to vote for someone else.”

Ferreira said the photograph was authentic and was taken in Bekkersdal, Westonaria, in March. It shows a police officer firing rubber bullets at two unarmed people.

“Given what is already in the public domain about the conduct of SAPS there will be no significant effect,” he said.

The televised advert shows the DA's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country.

The police argue the part of the advert where Maimane says “the police are killing our people” with images of a policeman shooting at a person, would “invite violent acts against the members of the SAPS”.

Earlier, William Mokhari, for the police, said the DA would suffer no harm if it removed the photo and Maimane's line from the advert.

He said it was important for the committee to consider how people would interpret the DA's message.

Maimane's line about the police would “inflame members of the public against the police”, he told the hearing.

The advert was previously banned by the SABC after it was flighted on April 8 and 9. The public broadcaster said the advert incited violence.

The DA laid a complaint with Icasa, and a public hearing was held. The DA and SABC came to an agreement on April 16 after which the broadcaster again aired the advert.

The hearing continues.

Sapa


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