By Seth Meyer
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 3 of VARSITY News.
Members of the South African police Service and South African National Defence Force have been working in conjunction to enforce what is being recognised as one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. Since day one of lockdown there have been clashes between civilians and police and the case of excessive use of force has been brought to the public eye. The Independent Police Investigate Directorate (IPID) has launched an investigation into the allegations of disproportionate use of force that has allegedly resulted in the deaths of eight citizens at the hands of the police and army.
The case of one of these victims, Collin Khosa, will be heard in the Constitutional Court. Khosa was allegedly accosted by soldiers in his own yard for drinking alcohol. Testimony in an affidavit completed by Khosa’s partner, Nomsa Montsha, claims that the soldiers vandalised his car as punishment, and that members of the SAPS, when arriving on the scene, proceeded to assault him, pouring beer over his head. “One member held his hand behind his back while the others choked him and slammed him against the cement wall. They hit him with the butt of a machine gun. They kicked, slapped and punched him in his face, stomach and ribs,” says Montsha in her testimony.
Another death has been put up to “natural causes” after an IPID investigation. Petrus Miggels was intercepted by two police officers while in the possession of alcohol that was illegally purchased under lockdown restrictions. Eyewitnesses claim the police used a hammer to hit Miggels and subsequently put him into a squad car, before dropping him off near his home. Miggels proceeded to walk home and died outside on his stoep within the hour.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has received criticism for the “skop, skiet and donner” approach of the police, a phrase Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula used in saying “there will be no skop, skiet and donner by soldiers unless they have too.”