The Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield says he was horrified an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) report.
The report alleges that since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown operation, two people have died in police custody and a further six as a result of police action.
‘Skop, skiet and donner’ police approach harmful
Whitfield delivered scathing criticism of Police Minister Bheki Cele’s approach to lockdown policing.
“This staggering figure of 8 deaths in as many days is proof that Police Minister, Bheki Cele’s approach of ‘skop, skiet and donner’ is undeniably harmful and completely at odds with the fight against the disease and the role that the police should play,” Whitfield said in a statement to the press.
According to Whitfield, the report reveals a further 30 incidents where people have suffered due to police misconduct, and one incident of a police officer being accused of rape.
“We call on the IPID to investigate these vile acts which have been perpetrated against the public without fear or favour and to ensure that the responsible officers are duly accountable,” Whitfield said.
“The DA will write to the Acting Executive Director of IPID requesting him to provide the public with daily briefings regarding the cases it is investigating.
“During this time transparency and accountability are of utmost importance.”
“This staggering figure of 8 deaths in as many days is proof that Police Minister, Bheki Cele’s approach of ‘skop, skiet and donner’ is undeniably harmful and completely at odds with the fight against the disease and the role that the police should play,” Whitfield said in a statement to the press. Image via Twitter: SA Police Service 🇿🇦 @SAPoliceServiceBill of rights still applies
Whitfield said the role of the police is to enforce the lockdown and encourage people to stay at home and practice social distancing – within the confines of the lockdown regulations. The shadow minister urged law enforcement to conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
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“South Africa is not in a state of emergency but in a state of national disaster,” Whitfield said.
“The rule of law, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution should be adhered to at all times. The role of the police is to enforce the lockdown and encourage people to stay at home and practice social distancing – within the confines of the lockdown regulations.
“Unfortunately what we have seen is the complete opposite, with increased risk incidents of violence at the hands of those who are tasked with protecting and serving us.
“The DA has always maintained that abuse of power by the police at such a vulnerable time must be addressed and eradicated. This is why we have called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly to provide for stronger and stricter oversight over the national executive authority, organs of state and ensure the protection of the civil liberties of South Africans during the lockdown.
“The DA also encourages the public to make use of our newly launched WhatsApp number and e-mail platforms, which South Africans can use to report acts of violence by law enforcement officers. Anyone who wants to report incidents of abuse by law enforcement officers can WhatsApp the DA on 067 977 9324 or e-mail email@example.com.
“We send our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones due to police brutality and misconduct.”