Several church congregants were arrested this weekend after attacking Johannesburg metro police (JMPD) officials when they went to disperse a mass church service in contravention of Covid-19 safety regulations on Sunday, 28 March.
JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said seven officers attended to a complaint about noise at a church in Midway, Soweto.
“On their arrival about 1pm, the officers were surrounded by a group of aggressive male churchgoers who banged on the JMPD patrol vehicles, he said.
“Officers used pepper gas to disperse the group and called for backup. Rubber bullets were then used to disperse the aggressive churchgoers who damaged patrol vehicles and injured two officers,” Minnaar said.
One officer was taken to Milpark Hospital while two churchgoers were also injured, with one later taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
“Several church members were arrested, including the pastor of the church. They were charged at Moroka police station with charges of public violence, assault, malicious damage to property and contravention of the Disaster Management Act as more than 2,000 people were attending the church service,” Minnar said.
Meanwhile SAPS has reminded the community at large there is no waiting period to report a person who has gone missing.
Report a missing person at your nearest police station immediately.
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Here’s how you can report a missing person.
- Produce a recent photograph of the missing person, if possible.
- Give a complete description of the missing person’s last whereabouts, clothes that they were wearing, as well as any information that can assist the investigating officer.
- Complete and sign a SAPS 55(A) form. This form safeguards the SAPS from hoax reports and indemnifies the SAPS to distribute the photograph and information of the missing person.
- Obtain the investigating officer’s contact details and send any additional information that might become available.
- If a missing person is found or returns voluntarily, inform the investigating officer immediately. A SAPS 92 form must be completed to inform the Bureau of Missing Persons that the missing person’s report can be removed from circulation.
Police have urged the public to be vigilant and work collectively to keep families together and safe.
Contact details for the national and regional offices of the Bureau of Missing Persons:
Head Office : 012 393 2002/5/7
Eastern Cape : 041 394 6166
Free State : 051 503 2869
Gauteng : 011 670 6415/6
Kwazulu Natal : 031 325 4756
Limpopo : 015 290 6000
Mpumalanga : 013 762 4391
Northern Cape : 053 839 2820
North West : 018 299 7034
Western Cape : 021 467 8236/7
Compiled by Reitumetse Makwea