Westenburg Police and members of the Public Order Policing Unit (Pops) had to intervene to rescue two alleged thieves from being attacked and assaulted by community members at Extension 44 outside Polokwane on Sunday.
The Police’s alleged use of live ammunition to disperse the angry community members has sparked anger by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They condemned the Police’s so-called mafia approach to the incident.
EFF Provincial Secretary Jossey Buthane reportedly said: “Police responded with maximum force shooting randomly with live ammunition at community members who mostly came to witness what was happening. One person was shot and injured. We are of the view that Police are hell bent on creating another Marikana and while this is their mission, innocent communities continue to suffer at their hands. Under normal circumstances we should look to the Police for protection but they have become feared as they are determined to unleash their brutality on citizens.”
Buthane also indicated that since the incident no-one of the Police’s provincial offices has come out to condemn the actions by its officers. “The silence on their part is an approval and endorsement of Police brutality and criminality. We are concerned that the moral and ethical conduct of Police is now at its lowest to an extent that our people have lost confidence in them. People no longer report cases because they know that it is a waste of time and that nothing will come of it,” according to Buthane.
The Provincial Command Team indicated that they will do everything in their power to expose and stop Police brutality because they do not want to be reminded about the apartheid regime. “We will follow up on this case with Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba and ensure that those who are responsible for using live ammunition face the music.”
Westenburg Police Spokesperson Maphure Manamela said no reports of anyone being shot during the incident were received. “Two men were accused of stealing and they were reportedly attacked and assaulted by community members which required Police intervention to disperse disgruntled community members. We highly condemn incidents of mob justice and urge people to refrain from taking the law into their own hands,” Manamela said.
The injured were taken to a local hospital. Investigations continue and no arrests had been made, according to Manamela.
Story: RC Myburgh