The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions is worried by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) report that shows that more people have died as a result of police action than from the deadly Covid-19 Virus in South Africa in the last eight(8) days. According to this report, six people have died at the hands of the police, since the 21-day lockdown was announced across the country.
This is not a tragedy but an outrage. The report reminds us of the serious problem of police brutality and indiscriminate use of violence by some law enforcement officers in this country.
The Federation supports the right of police officers to defend themselves against dangerous and violent criminal elements. But the idea of policing, has always been the protection of lives, possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder.
Police Officers are not deployed against citizens but are meant to partner with citizens to prevent crime and civil disorder. They are expected to do this without breaking the law themselves. Policing is different to vigilantism, where people take the law into their own hands.
We hope that Ipid will investigate these cases and if any laws have been broken by police officers, the responsible individuals will be held accountable.
We salute the majority of disciplined police officers who work, day and night, to keep the citizens safe and also act within the legal framework in executing their responsibilities. We also encourage them to form partnerships with the citizens to not only fight crime but to also isolate the undisciplined minority in their ranks.
COSATU abhors the use of unnecessary force by the police against citizens. We also renew our call for the demilitarisation of the SAPS. The Federation calls on political leaders to avoid inartful comments or verbal infelicities that can be misconstrued as encouraging the use of aggressive tactics by the police against the citizens.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794