Soon Durbanites and Capetonians will bare witness to a barrage of sunburnt holiday goers invading their worlds for the December period.
Now yes, media covers all the “lock your car” articles or “be vigilant during the festive season” editorials, which tend to be a staple this time of the year, every year.
But a topic often forgotten is that of police brutality or for the sake of this article, intimidation in South Africa. Therefore prior to you and your family packing the car or jumping on a plane to a local destination, to go soak up some much-needed R & R (Rest and Relaxation), remember the following; you have rights as a South African and must report law enforcement who are abusive or act outside the law they are paid to uphold.
South Africa has an entrenched issue with law enforcement crossing the line or misusing their authority not to protect and serve, but rather to behave regrettably towards the very people they swore to shepherd.
We are all adult enough to know what Police brutality is, but what is Police intimidation exactly?
An example of this can be noted when referring to a man in Newcastle, Kwazulu-Natal, who claims an incident which took place down the road from a school, saw a police officer allegedly pointing an R5 rifle into the man’s car, with two young girls observing this event unfold.
Let me explain, Frikkie de Jager says the incident took place on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, whereby, “I went to fetch my eight-year-old daughter and 13-year-old niece from school. I just drove out of the school, turning into HJ van Eck Road, when a Police van driving down Drakensberg Road, did a U-turn and followed me.” The driver of the State vehicle flashed his lights, signalling for the vehicle to pull over. “When I pulled over, the officer jumped out of the van, armed with a large firearm and dressed in civilian clothing. He then asked me, where was my driver’s licence.”
Fearing for his and his children’s safety, de Jager explains that he told the officer he did not have one. Stressing, “I definitely was not going to lie about it at that point in time. But then, my niece asked what kind of gun he had, the officer put the firearm into my car and said it was an R5 rifle. He then pulled out his pistol and told the two girls’ what type of gun that was.”
Now yes the man in question had no license and was in the wrong, but the fact that the officer in plainclothes put his R5 into the person’s vehicle, is unquestionably not allowed.
According to de Jager, he requested that the officer show some form of identification; he was then apparently met with hostility. Not only did the Police Officer initially refuse to give his name and rank, but when he took out his identification, the officer flashed it out so fast, that de Jager could not make out the rank of the officer nor the name.
The Newcastillian – Online News contacted the Newcastle SAPS Corporate Communications and Liaison Officer, Lizzy Arumugam who voiced her utter dismay and strongly encouraged de Jager and people like him, not to hesitate to open a case. She affirms, “Open a case against the Police, report the conduct of the Police Officer to his or her commander, and register a complaint against the Police for investigation.”
South Africa, as I am sure you have noticed, is more and more every day, finding itself being placed under pressure to deliver better. Departments and divisions, Municipalities and Institutions (except the immortal SAA) are seeing somewhat positive movement. Now, this could be accredited to an array of things; however, the most noticeable being— the stupid amount of money lost over the past few months, which means there is a massive requirement for a “tighter ship”.
The SAPS boast some of the most love-filled, passionate people you will ever meet. Who deal with terrors and mind-altering evils all to keep the country’s people safe, who proudly represent the badge. But, like a true cliche, some misrepresent the uniform they wear, and when this transpires, it is your civic duty to report them to ensure the law is upheld.
In closing, if you do not find success in reporting an incident to the authorities then be sure to contact South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)—which according to AfricaCheck.org, are “tasked with investigating offences allegedly committed by national or municipal Police, such as torture and assault. Torture and assault include beating, electrocution and suffocation.” (quite descriptive and intense, but you get the point).
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer