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Johannesburg - The SA Police Service (SAPS) should not be drawn into politics because it is a statutory institution, Icasa's complaints and compliance committee heard on Thursday.
“Police... can't be drawn into politics in terms of electioneering,” William Mokhari, for the police, told the hearings in Johannesburg.
“[The police] is lumped together with criticism in an advertisement against a political party... It is not an isolated statement.”
The Independent Communications Authority of SA's committee was hearing a complaint lodged by the police against a Democratic Alliance election advert.
The SAPS contends the advert incites violence against the police. Mokhari said people would see the police as serving the agenda of a political party. People would also see the police force as a “killer”.
“When members of the public see the police perform their duties, then the public will see the killers of people,” he said.
He said this would lead to people not obeying police.
“Because there is no reason for you to obey the killers.”
Mokhari told the hearings that police should get the same respect as other institutions, like the public protector and the Electoral Commission of SA.
Adverts should not attack the integrity of state institutions, he said.
He said the police would be at every voting station on May 7 and people might be afraid of the “killers”.
“How is the electorate supposed to react? People will think they are here to kill us.”
Before he started, he asked for the advert to be played. Mokhari said it shows a “police officer pointing a gun at somebody who is unarmed” and has no context.
The “Ayisafani” (It's not the same) advert shows the DA's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country.
Mokhari argued that the part of the advert where Maimane says “the police are killing our people” with images of a policeman shooting at a person, would “inflame members of the public against the police”.
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.