Report police brutality, urges Cele after assault on journo
Johannesburg - Police brutality during the Covid-19 national lockdown should not be left unchallenged, and should be reported to relevant authorities for perpetrators to face the might of the law, Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Addressing a virtual press briefing on Friday afternoon, Cele referred to Ficksburg journalist Paul Nthoba who was allegedly assaulted by police while covering a story. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has since taken over the investigation into the matter.
“Further the national commissioner has instructed the provincial commissioner of Free State to investigate the matter at the station level of which the report would be brought back to the national commissioner and to the minister soon,” said Cele.
Cele said there had been an increased complaint lodged against police for alleged brutality against members of the public during the lockdown.
He said the police officers had no excuse to violate human rights as at police colleges they were taught about code of conduct, and he said he and police commissioner General Khehla Sithole always when they attend police gatherings read the code of conduct to further remind them of what was expected and not expected of them.
“But you also know that there are structures within South African police where these brutality can be reported.
“The police are reprimanded according to what they have committed, hence we are making the call to the South Africans to report these things to Ipid, to the police management and any other structures like your human right (South African Human Rights Commission),” he said.
Regarding the death of Alexander resident Collin Khoza allegedly at the hands of law enforcement agents, Cele said the department would comply with the instruction of the North Gauteng High Court.
Judge Hans Fabricius had on March 15 ruled that Cele and his counterpart Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should within five days develop and publish a code of conduct and operational procedures regulating the conduct of their members, including that of the metropolitan police departments, on newspapers and social media.
The judge also instructed the suspension with full payment of SANDF members who were present at Khoza’s home that day or adjacent to his premises, within five days pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.
“We are trying to stick to those time frames in respect of complying (with court ruling) as the SAPS and SANDF.
“We were given two days by the judge, which had been compiled with by the head of defence and the head of SAPS, and then we were given five days that we are supposed to comply with today,” he said.
He said in compliance with the judgement, he and Mapisa-Nqakula would sign the document of code of conduct of joint officers.
“It would definitely be signed before the day ends at 12 (midnight), and the document is prepared and ready to be signed,” he said.
However, he said SAPS would appeal some part of the judgement, which he did not name.
“I don’t think that we are very much keen on complying with that one, we believe that we have a legal alternative of dealing with those matters.
“Unfortunately because it is already in the legal system, as we have appealed it, we believe we cannot talk much about it, but more than 95% of what the judge said we are prepared to comply with,” he said.