According to Colonel Kay Makhubele, the injured officers were taken to hospital before they were able to identify their attackers. “It’s only them who can identify who assaulted them,” Makhubele said yesterday.
After a tip-off about a drug den, the officers found four occupants in a house. One, a Nigerian man, was dead.
The officers were confronted and assaulted by a large group after removing the body, and before more officers arrived on the scene.
“When you see people are attacking you, you retreat, as they did,” said Makhubele.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday condemned the attack on the officers. It was captured on video and has gone viral.
“No amount of anger can justify the attack of police officers; police officers represent the state. Undermining of the police is equivalent to undermining the authority of the state, I am warning these thugs to desist undermining our police,” said Mbalula.
He said the house was occupied by a well-known drug dealer.
Investigators were yesterday awaiting the officers’ recovery as well as the post-mortem results of the dead man.
Twitter users reacted with outrage as footage of the police video attack trended on social media.
@SibahleMo tweeted: “A police uniform should come with a level of respect and ‘stature’. But not here. Instead police are getting beat by thugs.”
@JohnnyMasilela posted: “An attack on a police official is an attack on the state.”
But @SHINOBI_MADARA posted his suspicions of the officers’ motives: “Possibilities are that the police killed this guy. Wouldn’t you react in that manner if they killed someone you know?”