Arrest of police union president came after calls to probe corruption: Saftu

Saftu claims the assault of Sapu president Mpho Kwinika happened because of his call for probes into corruption in the police sector.
Saftu claims the assault of Sapu president Mpho Kwinika happened because of his call for probes into corruption in the police sector.
Image: Twitter/Bafana Nzimande‏

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says SA Police Union (Sapu) president Mpho Kwinika's arrest coincided with calls by union members for the presidency to probe police corruption.

Sapu is affiliated to Saftu. 

Speaking to radio 702, Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said it was no coincidence that Kwinika was arrested and allegedly assaulted by police at Sunnyside, Pretoria, at the weekend.

Kwinika, according to the union, sustained a broken arm, burst ear drum and bruising to his ribs.

Police, however, said the union boss was disturbing the peace and had resisted arrest.

"The news of the brutal assault has shocked everybody in the federation ... It should shake everybody from the whole world who believes in democracy," Vavi told 702.

"He slept in his own urine the whole night, not allowed to go to the toilet."

Kwinika's treatment was akin to that in the apartheid era, Vavi added.

Vavi said Kwinika had known that he was in danger for weeks.

"He has been followed for weeks before that meeting [with national police commissioner, Khehla Sitole] by unmarked cars. His number plates were ripped off and he received calls,  some of them threatening, from strangers. So he was expecting that something ... is going to happen to him," Vavi said.

"The same calls and following is now being directed to the general secretary of the union, Tumelo Mogodiseng," said Vavi.

Kwinika was charged with disturbing the peace, assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. Vavi claimed the charges were "trumped up". 

Kwinika is due to appear in the Pretoria magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Saftu said it had since written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the SA Human Rights Commission seeking assistance. 

National police spokesperson brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed the arrest but was adamant that police operated "within the confines of the law" using "minimum force" to effect an arrest.

Responding to Saftu's allegations on Monday night, he said: "Our police acted within the confines of the law. If anyone feels otherwise, they are welcome to open a case. When such a case is opened, we will bring it to the attention of the Ipid [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate] for investigation.

"When a police officer is effecting an arrest and there is resistance, they are within their rights to use minimum force to restrain a suspect."

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