Winnie woes: Cops muscle in
Jacques Steenkamp, Beeld
Mbombela - Police officials on Wednesday confiscated the service pistol of Warrant Officer Jannie Odendaal, 38, the flying squad member who was asked to apologise in person to former first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (an MP) last week after an incident on the M1.
According to Odendaal, six police officials showed up at his house in Brakpan at about 11:00 and informed him that they had been ordered the fetch his service pistol.
He was also informed that his leave had been cancelled and he had to report to the Soweto police station later. He says he can't concentrate on anything at the moment, and that he's not sleeping much and is eating very little.
"I asked for sick leave and was booked off by a doctor for a week. Emotionally I'm a wreck. No-one can tell me what's happening and whether I'm suspended or not."
However, Odendaal says he received a great amount of support from the public on Wednesday and says he's very grateful for "this bit of hope".
"Everyone agrees with me and says I shouldn't apologise. If I were to do so it would look like we were the guilty party and not them. I think she should apologise to us for her poor behaviour," Odendaal says.
"MPs' bodyguards have always considered themselves to be above the law"; "Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and should be treated equally" and "They think they can do what they want" were some of the comments from police officials who spoke to Beeld about the incident on Wednesday.
Zodwa Zwane, Madikizela-Mandela's spokesperson, after many requests from Beeld to present their side of the story, said Madikizela-Mandela is unreachable and ended the phone call.
The police have not responded to Beeld's questions.
Pieter du Toit reports that opposition parties reacted sharply to Odendaal's allegations on Wednesday. Both the DA and the FF+ have asked that official and independent investigations into the incident be launched.
Kate Lorimer, DA MPL and party spokesperson for safety and security in Gauteng, on Wednesday asked the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to investigate the incident.
Lorimer says in a statement that she is "extremely concerned" about the allegation that Petros would supposedly accompany the police officials to Madikizela-Mandela.
"If this is the case, what on earth gives him the impression that some people can break the law at will? He is supposed to support his police officials because it seems they were simply doing their jobs, as he has ordered on many occasions."
Pieter Groenewald, FF+ MP and spokesperson for police, says in a statement that Madikizela-Mandela should "immediately" be arrested for defeating the ends of justice.
Her behaviour furthermore testifies of a disregard for the law and creates the impression that she is above the law. Furthermore, her behaviour is an embarrassment to other MPs.
His party also wants an investigation about Petros' role, because his integrity has now been called into question: "His behaviour amounts to special treatment for Madikizela-Mandela.