The public may now report any police brutality during lockdown at their nearest police station.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), this is in response to the judgement handed down on 15 May in the North Gauteng High Court in the matter of Collins Khosa.
Khosa is the 41-year-old man who died after he was allegedly beaten by soldiers and metro police outside his home in Alexandra on 10 April.
The High Court declared that all people in SA are entitled to a number of rights, which cannot be suspended, even during the COVID-19 state of disaster.
These include the right to life, the right not to be tortured in any way and the right not to be treated or punished in an inhumane and cruel way.
SAPS has since capacitated the SAPS' National Service Complaints Centre to enable the public to also report allegations of police brutality or cruel, inhumane and/or degrading treatment and/or punishment, committed by members of the SAPS.
"Complaints can vary from torture and/or cruel, inhumane and/or degrading treatment and/or punishment, committed by law enforcement members including poor service delivery regarding police response, investigations, police negligence and police misconduct," the police's national spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.
When members of the public report a complaint; the respective complaint will be required to contain detailed information such as full names and surname, identity number, residential/business address, telephone and cell phone numbers and an email address.
Naidoo said the national state of disaster has created an unprecedented situation that requires the co-operation of everyone to prevent, limit, contain, combat and manage the spreading of COVID-19.
"Law enforcement agencies are expected to ensure that the disaster management regulations are adhered to by all inhabitants of the country."
Members of the public suspected to be in contravention of the disaster management regulations may expect the following to happen:
Be arrested or requested to accompany a law enforcement officer to a police station.
If the offence is of a serious nature, the person may be detained, subject hereto that he or she must be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than 48 hours after the arrest.
The person may apply for bail at his or her appearance in court.
If the offence is less serious, the community service centre commander or the senior member of the SAPS in charge must consider the release of a person in consultation with the investigating officer.
The public is urged to take note that the guidelines regarding enforcement of the State of Disaster Regulations allow that a law enforcement officer may forcibly confine the body of the arrested person if the person does not submit to custody (in accordance with section 39 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977).
"Furthermore, if the suspect resists the arrest or attempts to flee, section 49(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, authorises an enforcement officer to use force that is reasonably necessary and proportional to overcome such resistance or attempt. However, under no circumstances may a person be tortured, assaulted or mistreated in any manner by a law enforcement officer."
The public may, for the duration of the state of disaster, report complaints regarding the SAPS at the nearest police station, the National Service Complaints Centre on the toll-free number 0800 333 177 or on the following email addresses email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.