Bheki Cele: Police don’t care if protesters are black or white
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Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele has denied that black protesters are treated differently to their white counterparts by members of the SA Police Service (SAPS).
”There are no different rules for black and white when protesting in South Africa,” Cele said in response to EFF MP Henry Shembeni’s parliamentary questions.
Cele said the manner in which the SAPS manages protests does not differentiate between persons on the basis of race.
In January, the EFF complained about the police’s dereliction of duty in their treatment of mostly white protesters unhappy with closure of beaches in the Western Cape.
”It is clear to us that if the majority of these protesters were black they would have been arrested and shot at with stun grenades and water cannons by the police and law enforcement but because the majority are white the police did nothing,” the country’s third largest political party said.
According to the EFF, the incident highlighted the selective application of the law.
Cele said the SAPS had a code of conduct in terms of were expected to uphold police officers were expected to uphold the Constitution.
”SAPS members who transgress and commit misconduct may be charges,” he warned.
Cele said the SAPS promoted fairness and equal treatment for all citizens.
”Members of the SAPS may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language or birth,” he said.
Cele insisted that the SAPS respected that everyone has a right to assemble peacefully and unarmed, demonstrate, picket and present petitions.