Maties accuse cops of brutality
Ilse Krige, Die Burger
Cape Town - Police have once again been accused of violent behaviour towards students and sociable young people in Stellenbosch.
Two students who live in a flat near the Terrace pub in Alexander Street said they heard there was "trouble" in the early hours of Saturday morning and saw how about 15 police vans and other security vehicles “swarmed” over the parking area next to the Anglican Church on the Braak, across from the pub.
Francois Lötter and SP von Schlicht took cellphone videos of the incident.
“There was a fight between two guys from different groups after one guy shouted out a slur. Someone called over an ADT vehicle and suddenly it was just sirens and police wherever you looked.
“About five or six guys were arrested and thrown in police vans, even if they just wanted to explain what had happened. The brutality with which police handled the people was unnecessary.”
His flatmate, Von Schlicht, agreed: “It didn’t matter if you were a guy or a girl, everyone in the area was sprayed with pepper spray. Their eyes looked bad.”
The video recording showed how one student was grabbed on his ankle and belt, dragged across the ground and was thrown hard against a police van twice.
Similar incidents were reported a while back, including a raid four years ago that made headlines.
Hans Wessels from Somerset West is bringing a civil case against the minister of police after his children suffered at the hands of the police last year.
“It looks like there is no order and authority in the senior ranks of Stellenbosch police. They are charged and subpoenaed, but the same thing happens again and again.
“The place where they [students] should be protected, they fear, because police act like hooligans. A child in Stellenbosch should be able to seek refuge with law enforcers, but here it isn’t the case,” said Wessels.
Lieutenant Colonel André Traut confirmed that seven men between 19 and 21 years old were arrested for disorderly conduct between 00:40 and 01:15 on Saturday.
They were released the same morning after being given admission of guilt fines.
Traut said anyone who felt they had been treated unfairly was encouraged to lay an official charge with the local police station or with the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).
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