Cape Town - The EFF in the Western Cape have welcomed an Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (Ipid) decision to prosecute a police officer who allegedly shot at their members during protest action at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Around 100 hospital porters who lost their jobs, reportedly without explanation following a change in recruitment agencies that led to some staff not being rehired, held demonstrations at the hospital in March last year.
At the time, the Cape Times reported that 14 protesters were arrested and police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
EFF provincial chairperson Unathi Ntame said the decision to prosecute would send a “strong message that the South African Police Services should never be weaponised against citizens”, who were exercising their constitutional right to be heard.
“As the vanguard of the working class and poor, the EFF was approached by the staff of Groote Schuur Hospital who were dismissed for no apparent reason/s.
“Whilst exercising their constitutional right to make their demands heard, the impatient, trigger happy police officers, especially (the) officer, shot at protesters who were running away.
“In the moment and at such a close range he aimed at the regional chairperson, councillor Ntsikelelo Tyandela, and shot at him with an intention to kill because rubber bullets shot at such close range could kill,” said Ntame.
According to the EFF, Tyandela had to be hospitalised after his arm was broken, resulting in costly medical expenses.
“It is the duty of the state to protect its citizens not shoot at them and what [the] officer... and his colleagues did was a direct violation of the very Constitution in which the rights of citizens to picket and protest peacefully are protected.”
We cannot allow the South African police officers to violate the very fibre of our society by taking the law into their own hands? The police should never be at the forefront of silencing protesters through the barrel of a gun. We condemn this violation of the constitution in the strongest possible terms,” said Ntame
Ipid national spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said they would respond in due course.