A SAPS vehicle, similar to the one in the picture, was used to escort matric pupils to their Grade 12 dance at the weekend. Picture: Denel Vehicle Systems

Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday demanded the suspension of South African Police Service (SAPS) Public Order Policing Unit members who, dressed in full riot gear, allegedly escorted pupils at a Newcastle High School to their matric dance.

The demand comes after a video of the incident went viral online over the weekend.

"We condemn in no uncertain terms any misuse or abuse of state resources. Heads must roll in this matter. As the IFP we want to know who gave mandate to these officers to accompany these learners and on what grounds? Serious questions must be asked and suitable answers must be provided," said provincial spokesperson Blessed Gwala.

Gwala said the issue deserved urgent attention from the KZN MEC of Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda who should institute his own investigation into the matter. Furthermore, SAPS management should act "without fear or favour" against the officers. 

"Nevertheless, police officials should always behave in a professional manner. Every member of SAPS signed the Code of Conduct and failure by any member to abide by it could result in an investigation being launched for which the member could face departmental steps taken against that member.

"The IFP demands that anyone police officer found to be abusing state resources must be held accountable. Sometimes you will find police officers using state vehicles to do shopping or cars parked in the shebeens, or frequenting casinos, but nothing is done to curb this lawlessness at the taxpayers’ expense," said Gwala.

He said citizens were fed up with seeing officers of the law blatantly abusing their power and taxpayers’ money, and said it was not only unethical behaviour but also misconduct.

African News Agency (ANA)