South Africa: Cele Downplays Police Violence - Says 'Police Are Not Sacrificial Lambs'

Police Minister Bheki Cele (file photo).
analysis

At a media briefing on Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele did not dwell on incidents of jackboot policing tactics that have become a blight on the Covid-19 lockdown.

See our Jackboot special report here: The other epidemic: an account of Police and army violence in the Covid-19 pandemic

In the North Gauteng High Court last week, Judge Hans Fabricius handed down a 79-page judgment castigating the police and army for their use of violence while enforcing Covid-19 regulations. The judgment was in relation to the death of Collins Khosa at the hands of soldiers, while police stood by, but its ambit was much larger as the judge traversed the requirements of civilian policing of a public health emergency.

Earlier in May, parliament heard that 11 people had died in police action between March 26 and May 5, and that complaints to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had spiked. Most of the complaints related to assaults by the police.

Updating the nation on Friday on how the Covid-19 restrictions were being implemented, Cele spent less than five minutes of a 60-minute briefing dealing with the judgment and the trend toward police violence. Instead, he trumpeted that crime has come down...

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