Cops are being heavy handed, say residents

2011-02-16 11:23

Police have been accused of being heavy handed and reckless as they target innocent people when trying to restore order in Mpumalanga’s Ermelo area.

A number of community members have complained of their windows being broken by the police’s rubber bullets, which were directed at their houses, and being shot at for no reason.However, when they go to report at the Ermelo police station their complaints are ignored.

One man, Sipho Nkosi (40) of Ward 5, was shot in the inner-thigh inside his house and another, Thabo (surname unknown), was bundled into a police vehicle while talking to a journalist.

He was arrested a few minutes later.

“I tried to explain to them that they are ambushing me inside my house. They would not listen and they shot me,” Nkosi said.

“I’m not part of these protests since my knee is injured, but they nonetheless decided to shoot me and both my legs are now painful,” he said, showing the wound.

Ntombenhle Skhosana (31) of Extension 1 said the police slapped her when she asked to move out of her house to buy bread.“I can identify that policeman. He slapped me twice on my face and insulted me saying I’m a prostitute,” Skhosana said.

Peggy Ngwenya (26) was shot in the back while she was bathing at home.

“The rubber bullet came through the window, and when I went to report the matter at the police station they said it’s not local police who shot me and they could not do anything,” Ngwenya said.

Keti Mkhwanazi (62) said the police were shooting randomly and broke her windows.

“Our houses are not fighting anyone, and this is a real concern to us. I don’t even have a boy in my house so I can’t understand why they target me,” said Mkhwanazi.Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leornard Hlathi declined to comment and said such questions would be answered by National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele.

Cele’s chopper has arrived in Ermelo and he is due to address the media.

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