Screengrabs from the video which has gone viral on social media
Screengrabs from the video which has gone viral on social media

AfriForum asks for full disclosure into investigation over 'Ballito scuffle'

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published May 25, 2020

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Durban - AfriForum has written to the KwaDukuza municipality asking for full disclosure of the investigation into the "Ballito scuffle" in which two municipal officers were accused of manhandling a four-year-old boy, earlier this month. 

In the four-page letter to the municipality, AfriForum asked for written statements and oral transcripts that were made by officials and other witnesses the KDM relied on in coming to their final decision. 

AfriForum claimed that none of the people who they are representing in the matter have been consulted by the municipality to provide their version of events. 

On May 11, a video was shared on social media showing two uniformed officers entering a property in Ballito and taking away a little boy. A man, believed to be the boy's father, then rushes towards the men to take his son. 

A scuffle ensues between the men and the two officers for the child, who is eventually released and told to go to a lady who was seen in the background of the video. 

The officers then handcuff the man. It is alleged the man and boy were part of a group of people who were seen at the beach in Shaka's Rock. 

An investigation was launched by the KDM after residents expressed outrage and the way in which the boy was treated. However, according to the KDM, the officers acted in accordance with the Children's Act. They were then cleared of any wrongdoing.  

The matter was taken up by AfriForum's Private Prosecution Unit, which is headed up by advocate Gerrie Nel. 

"Your public condonation of not only what your officials did but also how it was done leaves us flabbergasted. Must we accept that your condonation of the official's behaviour finds reliance on a flawed investigation which if you are called out on, your office would not shy away from us publishing how you opportunely derived contentment of your officials conduct," AfriForum said. 

They have asked for full disclosure of the investigation, adding these formal pronouncements by the KDM may inevitably lead to a repetition of wrongful arrests followed by hasty investigations based solely on the untested exculpatory versions or their officials which does little to ensure justice.

Nel also cited the conduct of the officers, who themselves were not complying with lockdown regulations and not wearing masks. 

"Notably your officials failed to wear face masks in circumstances where they dealt with the public. Do you consider the absence of wearing a face mask in the public as unlawful conduct? If not, can we accept that you also condone this? 

"Is it important to you that your municipal officials comply with the regulations in as far as social distancing and sanitation is concerned? In this regard do you condone the amount of people transported per vehicle to the police station by your officials?" Nel asked.

AfriForum was representing six of the 11 residents who were arrested for being on the beach that day. 

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