Cape Town suspends law enforcement officers over lockdown 'abuse'

A group caught playing soccer on an open field in Helenvale, Port Elizabeth, on March 30 2020, are forced to do squats by police officers and soldiers.
A group caught playing soccer on an open field in Helenvale, Port Elizabeth, on March 30 2020, are forced to do squats by police officers and soldiers.
Image: Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

Three Cape Town law enforcement officers have been suspended for allegedly verbally abusing and harassing people on the Cape Flats during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The suspensions were revealed on Thursday by Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz, who said he condemned any abuse of power by police or soldiers.

“Fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to dignity, can under no circumstances be suspended by the national state of disaster,” he said.

“I cannot be silent amid the numerous complaints of physical abuse and humiliation against our residents. I will exercise my constitutional powers of oversight over the SA Police Service, metro police and law enforcement.”

Fritz said there had been 50 lockdown-related arrests between 6pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday. A further 321 non-compliance fines were issued.

“I have requested that the Western Cape Liquor Authority ensure that any outlet which contravenes the lockdown conditions be liable for a maximum fine of R100,000 and have their licence revoked immediately, subject to investigation,” he said.

The liquor authority would also join the provincial joint operational and intelligence structure [Provjoints] leading the response to the Covid-19 crisis, and be included in every investigation of liquor being sold.

“I further welcome the resolution taken by Provjoints that no alcohol will be returned to any outlet after paying admission of guilt,” he said.


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