Police union defends cops amid reports of brutality in enforcing lockdown rules
Durban - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has denounced all forms of brutality, by either police or civilians, as numerous reports of conflict between communities and law enforcement officials over the enforcement of lockdown regulations have begun to emerge.
This comes after reports that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was probing the murders of thee civilians, allegedly as a result of police action.
There have also been a reported 21 complaints lodged with IPID in relation to police conduct in the first days of the lockdown.
IPID acting spokesperson Santago Seisa did not respond to a list of questions relating to the directorate’s investigations which he had requested be sent via email and WhatsApp.
Mamabolo said that given the outbreak and spread of Covid-19, the country was in uncharted territory and the majority of police officers are committed to doing their work in ensuring that people comply with the regulations that have been put in place.
“There might have been numerous incidents but the police would not have had any form of intent to harm the people of South Africa especially under these conditions where our members clearly understand that it is their role to ensure that we work together in ensuring that everyone remains at home and we deal with this coronavirus,” Mamabolo said.
He said that it was unfortunate that there had been incidents between the police and the country’s citizens, but that this should not be portrayed as the police reacting in a brutal manner towards the public.
“That does not, in any way, suggest that there should be any form of brutality. We are against any form of brutality, be it against police or be it against civilians,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo said: “The role of IPID is to look into the misconduct and we are not against continuing with their investigations.”
However, he pointed out that communities needed to realise that as much as the coronavirus affected them it also affected law enforcement officers too as they were putting their lives at risk in ensuring that they go out into communities and do their work to get people to comply with the rules.