Mbalula flayed over cops

Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula came under fire from opposition parties yesterday for refusing to promise the public protection against allegedly abusive blue light cops.

Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula came under fire from opposition parties yesterday for refusing to promise the public protection against allegedly abusive blue light cops.

MPs in the National Assembly grilled Mbalula over the treatment Cape Town student Chumani Maxwele received at the hands of Zuma's bodyguards.

Two weeks ago Sowetan revealed that Maxwele was arrested by Zuma's VIP unit after waving at the convoy, held for 24 hours, interrogated and forced to write an apology.

Cope, the DA, the IFP and ACDP demanded that the police ministry apologise to Maxwele, and promise that such incidents would not happen again.

"The student's right to be protected against torture was violated by the VIP protection unit. There can be no justification for suffocating a person by putting a bag over his head" said ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.

The DA said the incident symbolised all the problems South Africans had with the police.

Even an ANC MP, Gregory Schneemann, told Mbalula that there had been several complaints against the VIP units and asked if he would consider conducting an investigation.

But Mbalula refused to answer any questions. He claimed that because Maxwele plans to take the police ministry to court, the matter is "sub-judice" and that he could not talk about it.

Angry MPs then told Mbalula it was not sub-judice because court papers had not yet been filed.

But Deputy Speaker of Parliament Nomaindia Mfeketo ruled that the MPs must "take Mbalula on his word".

Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said the opposition was "completely out of order" for putting pressure on the Deputy Police Minister.

ANC MP Johnny de Lange accused the opposition of "attempting to disrupt this house on every occasion".

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