The ANC’s secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula has hit back at what he has described as “opportunists” and “chance-takers” who blame the ruling party for the number of violent incidents involving government blue light brigades and civilians.
Reacting to the most recent incident where at least six of the Presidential Protection Services members were caught on camera allegedly assaulting a motorist and passengers on the N1 highway in Johannesburg, Mbalula said the party was “equally dismayed“ and called for the immediate suspension of those involved.
In a press briefing, held at the ANC headquarters Luthuli House on Wednesday, Mbalula said the ANC was extremely alarmed by news that the police officers involved in the violent attack were attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s protection detail.
“Their behaviour was not only cowardly, but runs against the grain of which the SAPS stands for. The majority of police serve the country diligently but such incidents put a serious light on the SAPS,” Mbalula said.
He urged those involved to allow Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to investigate the matter, and to check whether there were indiscretions in terms of the police activity “because we cannot answer why they acted in the manner in which they did”.
“We saw a small Polo and people being trampled upon by police, we don’t know what provoked that activity. Ipid must investigate, what was involved, what threat did they see in that Polo to make them act in the manner that they did. No stone should be left unturned to ensure that this matter is properly investigated,” he said.
After referring to a separate incident where an off-duty SAPS police officer allegedly shot dead a JMPD officer during an altercation outside a nightclub in Johannesburg, Mbalula called on government to render occupational support to both metro and SAPS officers.
He, however, said they had noticed that these incident were now blamed on the ANC.
“This activity of officers on duty doing their job that they are employed by government to execute, is now blamed on the ANC.
“The ANC as a brand is tarnished by opportunists and chance-takers who at any given point jump at the opportunity to attack the organisation.
“We are equally dismayed by acts such as those and we will never support anything that tramples on innocent citizens. We go around the country and people show us the middle finger. People hate the blue lights with passion,” he said.
He further added that the ANC encourages people to act with caution and called for swift investigations into the recent incident with the VIP Protection Unit.
“Why did they take such action on the Polo and the occupants? They must answer.
“It is really worrisome and the ANC condemns these acts of violence on our streets in the very strongest terms,” Mbalula said.