‘Brutal’ police not welcome in the area, say Jika Joe residents

2010-06-18 00:00

JIKA JOE residents have accused the police of brutality and say they are no longer welcome in the area without proper authorisation — a search warrant and communication with the area’s management committee.

The accusation follows the alleged shooting at a house by plainclothes police. They are said to have nearly injured one of the residents and beaten two people accused of harbouring fugitives and selling drugs.

The residents say that although they have been victims of random searches in the past, the situation has escalated and they no longer trust the police after they allegedly mistreated three people without valid reasons.

They said that on Wednesday morning, police chasing a suspect in an armed robbery case fired numerous shots, two of them hitting one of the houses and narrowly missing a teenage girl inside.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, they came back to look for the suspect and allegedly assaulted his neighbour, whom they accused of harbouring the fugitive.

Later yesterday, they allegedly severely assaulted a liquor dealer whom they accused of selling drugs.

Mzamo Zuma, who was accused of harbouring a fugitive, said that in the early hours of yesterday morning, he was woken up by the police, who demanded to know the whereabouts of his neighbour. “They beat me up, asking where my neighbour who escaped from custody was.”

At midday yesterday, claimed a liquor dealer, Mfanuvele Gwala, he was assaulted by the police, who accused him of dealing in drugs.

“They searched my house for drugs, but could not find them so they assaulted me.”

He said they stripped him naked, punched and kicked him and took some money from his liquor sales.

Bheki Dladla, a Jika Joe community leader, said they are concerned about the situation. “The community is on edge because of this and we are fearful that they might do something illegal. We have a community committee here; the police should try and interact with them when they are looking for a suspect to prevent any unsavoury acts.”

Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan confirmed there has been police activity in the area in the past two days.

She said yesterday’s incident was a routine operation and the shooting on Wednesday occurred after the suspect drew a firearm on the police.

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