Cwele welcomes suspension of cops

2013-03-01 16:18
Still from police brutality video (Picture: AFP/Daily Sun)

Still from police brutality video (Picture: AFP/Daily Sun)

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Johannesburg - Acting Police Minister Siyabonga Cwele welcomed on Friday the suspension of police officers allegedly involved in the death of a taxi driver.

"All police officers have a duty to fight crime and those who are not worthy of wearing our badge and uniform, must know that they have no place within SAPS [SA Police Service]," he said in a statement.

"We view this incident in [a] serious light and we would want to see stern action taken against those involved. We want stern action so that it may send a message to other officers that any untoward conduct will not be tolerated."

Cwele is acting minister while Minister Nathi Mthethwa is on official leave until 12 March.

Mido Macia, 27, a taxi driver and Mozambican national, was tied to the back of a police van and dragged along a street in Daveyton, on the East Rand, on Tuesday.

An eyewitness filmed the assault. Macia died in the local police station's cells later that day.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Friday that eight officers were suspended and the Daveyton police station commander was removed pending investigations into the incident.

"We are equally outraged with what happened," Phiyega told reporters in Pretoria.

Cwele called for calm in the Daveyton community.

"The philosophical orientation of our goal is to realise that the [SAPS]... is one of the most central of all the institutions of the democratic state," he said.

"What this philosophy means is that, our police officers must be seen and see themselves as guardians of human rights generally, and the Constitution in particular."

The DA also welcomed the suspensions.

"Suspending the police officers pending the outcome of the various investigations is the only sensible thing to do, in support of upholding the law and protecting citizens from rogue cops like those involved," DA Gauteng MPL Kate Lorimer said.

Phiyega commended

The SA Policing Union (Sapu) commended Phiyega for her actions against the officers.

"Those members don't just deserve suspension, they will have to face the music both departmentally and criminally," Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere said.

"This kind of brutality has no room whatsoever in the SAPS. We commend General Phiyega for this kind of leadership. The good image of the police is tarnished by ruthless elements like these."

Phiyega said that from video, which had gone viral, it was obvious Macia's rights were violated.

"The behaviour displayed in that video, when committed by police who are expected to serve and protect, is to be abhorred by all right-thinking people."

She had instructed that an internal investigation in terms of police disciplinary procedures be initiated immediately.

Phiyega urged all witnesses to come forward and co-operate with the investigation.

"The conduct of the members clearly goes against the values that the SAPS represent. All SAPS members are expected to respect and uphold the law at all times and avoid at all costs any conduct that makes us violators of the law," she said.

"The behaviour of the suspended members is therefore condemned in the strongest terms."

Read more on:    police  |  sapu  |  riah phiyega  |  kate lorimer  |  siyabonga cwele  |  nathi mthethwa  |  johannesburg  |  police brutality

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