Police assaulted us for wearing red berets – Mpumalanga EFF

2013-10-31 16:33

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Mpumalanga have accused the police of working with the ANC to target their members.

Bohlabela regional coordinator Dallas Mokone claimed a number of EFF members were beaten by officers from the police tactical response team over the weekend for wearing the party’s red berets, a Sapa correspondent reported today.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala denied EFF members were assaulted, but confirmed a case of assault was opened against some police officers.

“I can confirm that a common assault charge is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) against police officers.”

When police asked to search the EFF members, some resisted. When police searched them one of the members’ cellphones fell and broke.

“So if they claim (that they were beaten), the Ipid will determine that,” said Mohlala.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Sibusiso Themba dismissed claims that the ANC was working with the police to undermine the EFF.

“(We) do not disrupt EFF meetings and none of our members have been told to do so,” he said.

Mokone said the EFF was registering new members and campaigning at the Bushbuckridge mall on Saturday when police asked to search them.

“The officers did not find anything after searching our members. I believe they thought we were having alcohol with us. Then they started asking us why we were wearing Julius Malema’s berets in Bushbuckridge,” he said.

When an EFF member tried to respond, he was allegedly surrounded and beaten.

“He was beaten until he fell down while they stomped on his phone. When he arose he was beaten again, while they were busy saying the place is not for Malema and we are imitating another man by wearing red berets,” Mokone said.

He claimed police assaulted other EFF members before going to Shatale township, seven kilometres from the shopping centre.

“At Shatale they found more members wearing the red berets and asked them why they were wearing them,” said Mokone.

“Then they started beating them.”

One EFF member had to be treated at Mapulaneng Hospital for injuries allegedly sustained during the assault.

“The member opened an assault case against the police. As much as it is scary to be a member of the EFF due to the police’s apartheid-style treatment, asijiki (we are not turning back),” Mokone said.

“How can police support political parties instead of making citizens safe? Through EFF, people are going to see democracy because it is clearly being buried under the ANC.”

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