Winnie spat - suspensions upset union
Pretoria - The SA Policing Union (Sapu) on Wednesday condemned the announcement that two policemen had been suspended after being involved in an altercation with ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her bodyguards.
In a statement on Wednesday Sapu secretary general Oscar Skommere said the union had learnt with "shock, anger and dismay" that the two officers had been suspended.
Warrant Officer Jannie Odendaal and Constable Abel Twala were suspended on Monday with full pay and benefits.
They stopped Madikizela-Mandela's car on the M1 north in Johannesburg in December because it was allegedly being driven recklessly at 150km/h.
The policemen said they believed the silver Audi A6 with tinted windows was "suspicious".
After stopping the vehicle, a bodyguard got out and told Odendaal that Madikizela-Mandela was in the car.
An argument ensued between the bodyguards and the policemen.
The bodyguards have brought charges of pointing of a firearm and intimidation against the policemen.
In line with police internal disciplinary regulations, the policemen were temporally transferred. They also had to hand in their guns.
Skommere said the union wanted an urgent meeting with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner Bheki Cele to resolve the issue.
"There is no doubt that the officers have done nothing wrong except to do their job without fear and favour. Sapu is of the view that this will not only demoralise the thousands of dedicated officers in the entire SAPS but will be the wrong step.
"South Africa will end up being a banana republic if highly connected and powerful people do not obey the rules as the general public," he said.
The suspensions on Monday followed Odendaal's filing charges against Mandela and her bodyguards last Friday.
He filed charges of defeating the ends of justice, assault and reckless and negligent driving against Madikizela-Mandela and her bodyguard at the Brooklyn Police Station.