An sandf member looks on as shoppers pass by with much- needed food items.
An sandf member looks on as shoppers pass by with much- needed food items.

Complaints of SANDF, SAPS abuse spike amid coronavirus lockdown

By ASANDA SOKANYILE Time of article published Apr 4, 2020

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Cape Town - The Indepdendent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating 38 cases involving assault, rape by police officials, discharge of an official firearm and corruption as reported since March 26.

Since lockdown began, a number of videos have gone viral on social media which show SAPS and SANDF forces using unnecessary force to ensure citizens adhere to the regulations.

A Gugulethu woman who wished to go only by her first name, Tiny, said she had been unable to collect her son’s disability grant because police offices had refused to allow her to go to the bank.

“I was going to the ATM to collect my son’s grant when we got stopped by the police. I kept telling them that his grant is paid via Standard Bank but they flat out told me to go back home unless I can provide a Sassa card as proof that I am going to collect social grant. One of them even went as far as tell me that I was lying about collecting my son’s disability money. I was so upset but decided to turn back because they were starting to become agitated. These people do not know how to do their jobs and they need to be trained on how to deal with people in a civilised manner.”

Siyabonga Mlamli, a Khayelitsha resident, was allegedly beaten by SAPS and SANDF members on Sunday evening, but did not lodge a complaint.

“This is nothing new, it happens in the township all the time so why bother reporting it? They beat me and some friends, we were walking at night from an ATM. We know that they are not supposed to beat us to enforce the regulations. We also know we were not supposed to be out and about, especially at that time but they had no right to beat us up,” he said.

The Department of Health said between 6pm on Wednesday evening and 6am on Thursday morning, there were 50 lockdown-related arrests. A further 321 non-compliance fines were issued.

Earlier this week, MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz condemned violent acts by the SANDF and SAPS.

“All acts of abuse under the joint command of SAPS and SANDF will be investigated by the relevant entity responsible for these investigations. I commend the City of Cape Town for the swift suspension of three law enforcement officers following their alleged verbal abuse and harassment of residents on the Cape Flats.

I cannot be silent amidst the numerous complaints of physical abuse and humiliation against our residents. I will exercise my constitutional powers of oversight over SAPS, including Metro Police and law enforcement.”

Fritz said residents in the province must adhere to the lockdown conditions and stay at home as this would ensure that many lives would be spared.

Weekend Argus

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