Human Rights Commission calls on state to restrain law enforcers
The SA Human Right Commission has called on the government to stop the excessive use of force by the police and military during the lockdown.
The commission said that the use of excessive force by law enforcement during the coronavirus lockdown amounted to violation of human rights.
This comes after complaints by citizens about the violence they have suffered at the hands of the military and the police who patrol the streets in the communities to enforce the observation of the lockdown measures in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
Many videos as well as complaints have emerged on social media,accusing the military and the police of heavy-handed approach.
These include assaults and physical exercises such as push-ups and frog jumps among others.
“Whilst appreciating the state’s effort to protect the right to life and health by taking extraordinary measures to curb the person-to-person spread of this virulent virus, the Commission is fully aware of continued concerns about human rights violations by security services while enforcing the lockdown regulations published under the Disaster Management Act,” the commission spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said in a statement.
Brooks said it was shocking that a man in Alexandra was killed allegedly by members of the military.
“The Commission learnt with shock and dismay about the alleged killing of a man in Alexandra, on Friday the 10th April 2020, at the hands of SANDF members.
“The Commission welcomes the subsequent warning issued by the SANDF and the military’s willingness to co-operate with the South African Police Service (SAPS), in the subsequent criminal investigations into the death of the deceased,” Brooks said.
Defence minister Nosive Mapisa-Nqakula earlier cautioned members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) against their heavy-handedness during the lockdown.
She said that they should refrain from using any kind of force even if they are provoked. The commission called on the government to take meaningful steps to stop the use of excessive force as well as civil society, faith based organisations and business to condemn the acts of the law enforcement.
“The Commission continues to monitor the observance of human rights during the lock down period and urges other constitutionally empowered bodies to ensure that rights are observed and upheld at all times. At the same time, the Commission urges all inhabitants of the country to respect the law and cooperate with law enforcement agencies and avoid creating any reasons for the use of force by them,” Brooks said.