South Africa: Security Forces Are Waging War On Our Constitutional Democracy

South African Police shut down spaza shops in Govan Mbeki Township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
opinion

Giving relatively free rein to the security forces under the cloak of the Covid-19 lockdown is dangerous and a threat to democracy.

The past couple of days have witnessed abuses perpetrated by the security forces against civilians at a scale last seen in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid. Only a few days into the lockdown to combat the coronavirus, far too many members of the police, military and other law enforcement agencies have seized upon the lack of proper oversight over their actions to unleash a wave of terror in communities throughout our country.

Mere hours after the lockdown came into effect on 27 March, videos started circulating on social media showing heavily armed soldiers and police frogmarching and forcing civilians to do push-ups. This quickly escalated into security forces beating up and assaulting people in the street.

Next, video recordings showed police pointing guns at people even while they were inside their own yards. And, tragically but predictably, the abuses escalated to the point where members of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police on Sunday allegedly shot and killed a 41-year old man inside his own property in Vosloorus, also injuring four children.

The abuses follow the appearance...

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