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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


MPs ask Ipid to probe lockdown police brutality

The two committees said they were seriously concerned about the alleged death of 10 people as a result of police action during the enforcement of the lockdown.


Parliamentarians have condemned police brutality against the people during the lockdown and asked the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to continue probing the police’s excessive actions.

This emerged at the joint sitting of the portfolio committee on police and the select committee on security and justice yesterday, when members expressed shock that 376 cases of police actions against people were received during the lockdown.

“While we await the finalisation of the investigations, the management of the police must implement mitigating strategies to minimise the number of alleged transgressions,” said Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the chairperson of the portfolio committee.

The two committees said they were seriously concerned about the alleged death of 10 people as a result of police action during the enforcement of the lockdown.

Chairperson of the select committee, Shahidabibi Shaikh, said although they did not want to pre-empt the investigations, they were worried that so many people could die in the course of a humanitarian intervention like a lockdown.

The numbers reported to Ipid were not enough compared to the amount of brutality inflicted on members of the public.

The committees recommended that there should be a closer working relationship between Ipid and the military ombud, especially around cases following joint operations.

It was resolved that Ipid be given more time to investigate and conclude its probe into police excesses in their enforcement of the lockdown restrictions.

Shaikh said while they welcomed the update from Ipid given at the meeting, it was going to be difficult to reach an informed decision on the allegations of abuse of power.

“We will await the conclusion of the investigations so that we can make resolutions that are backed by facts,” Shaik said.

The parliamentarians urged the SA Police Service to continuously monitor their stock levels of personal protective equipment to ensure that they are always fully stocked. The committee members were concerned that 253 police officers have been infected with Covid-19.

The committees acknowledged the systems put in place by SAPS management to contain the virus, especially considering the police were at the forefront of the fight.

The committee also heard that the investigation into the arrest in the Western Cape of a group of 24 Muslims during which a blasphemous comment was allegedly made, had been concluded. The committees accept the findings that the comments were not in reference to Prophet Muhammad.

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