Metro cops in disabled parking bay laugh at wheelchair man

Two Ekurhuleni metro police department (EMPD) officers are being called to account after being accused of laughing at a wheelchair student who confronted them for parking in a disabled parking space.

Last Tuesday, 23-year-old Gerhard Swarts arrived at Festival Mall in Kempton Park at about 3pm, only to find an EMPD vehicle with registration XSC295 GP parked in the disabled parking.

DEFIANT: A disabled man tries in vain to get two metro police officers parked in a disabled parking bay to move their vehicle. Behind the EMPD car is his vehicle. They kept their car doors locked while parked in a disabled-parking bay at the Festival Mall in Kempton Park. Credit: INLSA

“I asked my driver to park just behind the car, because I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately,” said Swarts.

“When I saw it was a metro police car, I thought that they should know it’s against the law for them to park there.”

There was no driver in the car, so Swarts moved to the passenger side, where he asked the officer if there was anybody disabled in the vehicle.

“She said ‘no’, so I said I would wait for the driver.”

The driver, also an EMPD officer, arrived five minutes later.

“I said, ‘I can see you’re not disabled’. She said ‘no’, climbed in the car and slammed the door in my face.”

When the officers refused to open their windows to talk to Swarts, he tried to get their attention, first tapping the window, then hitting the window, then ramming his wheelchair into the car.

“They didn’t react. They just sat there laughing and talking on their radios.”

By now, a small crowd had assembled, and mall security.

EMPD chief superintendent Wilfred Kgasago said

: “We’re taking statements… which will be submitted to our integrity and standards unit.”

Swarts said:

“While she was driving away, I told the officer to put on her seatbelt.”

She reversed her car and drove off, her seatbelt still off.