A report by the Ipid clearing police of misconduct for the use of water cannons on people queuing outside South African Social Security Agency in Bellville has been harshly criticized. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
A report by the Ipid clearing police of misconduct for the use of water cannons on people queuing outside South African Social Security Agency in Bellville has been harshly criticized. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Ipid report clearing police in Sassa water cannon drama slammed

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published May 6, 2021

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Cape Town - A report by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), clearing police of misconduct for the use of water cannons on people queuing outside South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices in Bellville, on January 15, has been criticized.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu was at the branch at the time, to assess the state of several Sassa offices, amid the termination of temporary disability grants (TDG) and care dependency grants in December 2020.

IPID commenced its investigation in February, following an outcry over the use of force by the Public Order Policing (POPs), in an attempt at queue management.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said he was disappointed in the findings of the report that showed no misconduct was committed by police members.

Fritz said, according to the report, Sassa officials requested the assistance from the Bellville police, for crowd control. When unsuccessful, the police called in the POPS unit, who then took over.

“At some level, somebody must be held accountable. If it is the case that SAPS acted in terms of the law – and we cannot rule that out as a matter of principle – then questions must be asked to Sassa and their operations.

“How is it that a situation like this is allowed to flare up in the first place, for instance? But we cannot be a society in which something like that is rubber-stamped. Somebody must be held accountable,” said Fritz.

The DA in the province said it was disappointed by the findings.

DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said: “While we are disappointed at the report, we are not surprised. The poor have always been treated with disdain by the national government who fail them at every opportunity.

“I will be writing to the chairperson of the provincial standing committee on community safety to request that this matter be tabled at the next briefing with Saps, and that IPID be asked to present as well.”

Black Sash national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said Sassa knew in advance the grant was coming to an end, “but failed to put measures in place to deal with the anticipated demand for reapplication of the TDG in a humanitarian and economic crisis”.

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