Bail for alleged cop attackers too low - Cope

2013-09-17 17:22

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Johannesburg - Granting R500 bail to each of three men who allegedly assaulted a policeman and damaged a Polokwane shop was unfair, Cope said on Tuesday.

Congress of the People (Cope) Chief Whip Dennis Bloem said although bail should be used to ensure the presence of the accused at future proceedings, it had to be aligned with the alleged crime.

Police spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Saturday that Constable Tiselani Shikwambana was driving in the Polokwane city centre around 04:30 with his wife when another car flashed its lights at him.

The constable let the other car pass, and as it did so the driver slowed down and another occupant threw a bottle at him. It then followed him for about 20km where the officer pulled into a filling station in Mankweng.

There, Herdus van Jaarsveld, 27, and brothers Donald and Edwin Albreent, aged 21 and 24, got out of the car and allegedly broke the windows of the constable's car and kicked its doors.

Shikwambana's wife ran away. He went into the filling station shop, where he handed his firearm to the cashier for safe keeping.

The three men, believed to be drunk, entered the shop, and allegedly attacked Shikwambana, and damaged shop property.

A member of the public called the police.

Van Jaarsveld and the two other men were arrested and appeared in the Mankweng Magistrate's Court on Monday.

"He [Shikwambana] was in a difficult position and he held the right to protect himself, but he took a calculated decision to ensure the safety of those around him," said Mulaudzi.

"Although we expect our members to know how to use their firearms, he did a noble thing in ensuring the firearm was kept out of harm's way."

Bail amount

Mulaudzi said the police were not happy with the low bail amount.

"R500 is nothing. He was in uniform and he was attacked. A message should have been sent that anyone who attacks police, their bail needs to be hefty," he said. "It was a slap on the wrist."

The case had been given priority.

Bloem said Cope felt the low bail amount sent the wrong message to would-be police attackers and the general public.

The party applauded Shikwambana for not using his firearm, even though he was being attacked.

"We call upon all law enforcement officers and South African citizens to respect and value one another in a bid to avoid police-citizen conflict, while working towards effective policing and crime prevention," said Bloem.

AfriForum said the attack on the policeman was unjustified and unacceptable.

"The law must take its course. Attacks on police officers have increased, especially in the Western Cape," said AfriForum's investigative unit head Nantes Kelder.

"They [the men] must take responsibility for their action. They cannot just attack an officer for no reason."

The three are expected back in court on 23 October.

Read more on:    cope  |  police  |  dennis bloem  |  polokwane

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