Ballito scuffle: Internal investigation finds officers 'did not manhandle the child'
Durban - An internal investigation into a scuffle between two KwaDukuza Municipality peace officers and a Shaka's Rock resident has found that the officers did not manhandle the 4-year-old.
Furthermore, the municipality claimed that the father in the video had tried to run away from officers who arrived to arrest him and others for contravening level 4 lockdown regulations.
According to municipal spokesperson Sipho Mkhize, "The municipality can confirm that the child who was seen being handled in the video, was handled in terms of Children's Act, and was being taken to safety after the arrest of the father.
"It is the officer's responsibility, like in this case, to secure and safely keep and handle the child in cases of arrests by taking the child to a safe place which was the case with these officers not manhandling the child."
Mkhize issued a statement on Tuesday, hours after the video of the peace officers grabbing the boy and subsequently arresting his father went viral on social media.
He said as per their internal investigation, they found that KwaDukuza Municipality's officers received a complaint of people violating the rules and were at the Shaka's Rock Tidal Beach.
"It was around 08:45am when officers arrived at the Shaka's Rock Tidal Beach and observed people at the beach, which is not allowed as per level 4 lockdown regulations," he said.
Mkhize said there were also children with the group of adults.
"Officers informed them of their transgressions and their rights. Eleven people were arrested. There were seven children. Four of them were handed over correctly and safely to their homes and with no harm.
"The other three children were being processed to be handed over to their homes safely at the same premises as seen on video when this incident happened," he said.
Mkhize said 11 people were arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act.
"The person recording the video was also arrested for the same transgression. Furthermore, we have learned that the man causing drama by running away to avoid arrest is an employee of the Department of Health at Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital," he said.
Mkhize said the child was being taken away after his father's arrest.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has called for order following the incident.
"We do not condone any form of abuse against citizens, especially children, during the Covid-19 national lockdown. While municipal peace officers have a responsibility to maintain peace in their neighbourhoods during the lockdown, the abuse of children would not be tolerated as it is a violation of the Constitution," he said.