Parliament wants police, Ipid to answer to brutality allegations

The SAPS and Ipid must submit a report to parliament's portfolio committee on police next Wednesday.
The SAPS and Ipid must submit a report to parliament's portfolio committee on police next Wednesday.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

Parliament's police portfolio committee wants answers.

The committee wants the police and watchdog body the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to provide answers about alleged abuses of power and heavy-handedness by law enforcement officers during the lockdown.

The committee has convened a meeting for next Wednesday to receive a report from the police and Ipid on the role of the security services during the lockdown, and to consider various issues of concern regarding management of the lockdown.

“The prime issue to be considered is the management and heavy-handedness of security forces during the lockdown,” said committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson on Thursday.

“In welcoming the announcement of the lockdown, the committee emphasised the supremacy of the law and that the declaration of the lockdown did not mean the suspension of the constitution. Thus, the law ought to be respected at all times, more especially by officers of the law,” she added.

Ipid and the police have been asked to report to the committee on these allegations and provide a detailed analysis of incidents, said Joemat-Pettersson.

She said the intention was to ensure that there was consequence management for police officers involved in misconduct, especially in abusing the rights of citizens during the lockdown.

“The committee wants to emphasise that a few bad apples are tarnishing the police’s good reputation. We call on Ipid to speedily investigate all complaints or cases of alleged abuse.”

She said people who provoked police and who broke the law should be brought to book.

“It is concerning that despite the compassionate plea by the president [for law enforcement officers not to violate people's rights], there are those elements who have decided to undermine the rights of South Africans,” said Joemat-Pettersson.

She has also condemned the burning and vandalism of property that has spiked in the past week, targeting schools and businesses. She said these acts were criminal and called on the police not to leave any stone unturned in investigating these “callous” acts and bringing the perpetrators to book.

“The most treacherous action is burning a school that is meant to guarantee a better future for the next generation. Communities must work with police to isolate and expose these criminals,” Joemat-Pettersson said.