SANDF members force people to do push-ups in Alexandra during the 21-day lockdown. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
SANDF members force people to do push-ups in Alexandra during the 21-day lockdown. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19: Fury after citizens roughed up by SANDF, SAPS

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Pretoria - The Fair and Equitable Society has approached the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on an urgent basis for a declaration that Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula are liable for torture carried out by the SANDF and SAPS.

This after several videos surfaced of citizens, in some instances, being forced to perform push-ups or being shoved and pushed as part of enforcement of regulations on the lockdown.

Director of legal at the Fair and Equitable Society Samantha Sarjoo said: “Videos showing the use of excessive force, violence and assault are an affront to the rights of ordinary citizens in the country.

“It is both concerning and appalling to see that the violent actions and gross violation of human rights are meted out along racial lines and targeting marginalised and disadvantaged groups, especially considering South Africa’s recent past of racial segregation and apartheid.”

She said the National State of Disaster as declared by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, did not suspend the rights of ordinary South Africans.

She emphasised the assertion made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation just before the lockdown.

“The behaviour of some individuals in the army and police towards people contravening the national lockdown rules is unacceptable and demeaning.”

She said the final decision-making authority rested with the respective ministers of the two departments.

“We will be approaching the court on an urgent basis with the hope and aim of having this case heard on April 7.

“This is not to say that those who flagrantly disobey the regulations should not be penalised - rather they should be treated within the prescribed legal framework of the lockdown. The outbreak of Covid-19 has not turned our people into mindless animals whose behaviour necessitates the infringement of their human rights, to the point of torture.

“Neither has it turned our public institutions into monuments of violence. Let us continue to fight the disease and not each other. We call on the army and police to desist from their seeming attitude of ‘skop, skiet en donner’.”

Police Ministry spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said Cele had noted the allegations and confirmed there were a number of cases currently under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. “The minister will await the outcome of the investigations and then comment based on that.”

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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