16 January 2014

South Africa: North West Cosatu Seeks Independent Probe

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Service delivery protest (file photo).

Johannesburg — Cosatu in the North West on Thursday called for an independent investigation into the killing of Mothutlung residents during protests near Brits.

It welcomed a probe by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, but said the Ipid reported to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and therefore could not be independent, provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said in a statement.

"Hence the Congress of SA Trade Unions North West is calling for an independent body which is not located in the ministry to be the one investigating this matter."

Three people were killed in the township since the protests over a shortage of water started.

On Monday, mineworker Osia Rahube and a photographer known as Bra Mike were shot dead, allegedly by police. On Tuesday, another man, Lerato Seema died, allegedly after falling from a moving police Nyala. Police said he was trying to escape from custody.

Phetoe said the trade union federation was troubled by the fact that police, not criminals, were killing residents.

"We think that the community must know who called the police, who gave instruction to killing innocent poor people who were fighting for their rights and demanding service delivery for their own families."

He said the deaths were a result of people using their power to steal from the poor. Residents claimed the Madibeng municipality was rife with corruption which was adding to the problems they faced.

Phetoe called for the implementation of the recommendations made by the ministerial task team, contained in a report commissioned by former co-operative governance minister Richard Baloyi.

The report was about problems including corruption and provision of services in the municipality.

"We must be told why is the report not implemented as it is? Why is the minister of local government not acting as per the recommendations of that report commissioned by the former minister?"

The African National Congress Youth League welcomed the intervention by Mthethwa following the killings.

"We appreciate that the minister sees that there is a problem that needs to be corrected within the SAPS," the youth league said in statement.

The organisation called for better training of public order police to ensure they could handle riots better.

"We want these police who are in this unit to be the people that our citizens trust and rely on when there are riots and related incidents."

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InFocus

Rights Report 'Subjective' - S Africa Police

Service delivery protest (file photo).

The police ministry has described a Human Rights Watch report about officers' conduct and their ability to deal with riots as "generalising and subjective". Read more »