Ombud asked to look at way cops treated protesters at Parliament

2015-10-22 21:18
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape Government has referred the police's treatment of student protesters outside Parliament on Wednesday to the Provincial Police Ombudsman for investigation, it said in a statement on Thursday. 

Provincial MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato said he has asked the Department of Community Safety's Watching Brief Unit to monitor the court cases following the [arrests]... at Parliament, as well as those... at the universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch earlier this week.

"Oversight needs to ensure that due process was followed in all cases," he said.

"While I support the SAPS in maintaining the rule of law, upholding court orders and safeguarding our communities – protesters and non-protesters – we need to do everything we can to prevent the day that escalation in violence can cause serious injury or even result in death."

Plato said in the statement that images from both outside Parliament and on campuses yesterday gave the impression that the police were responding with force without any prior mediation or communication with protesters.

"When protests are met with seemingly excessive force, especially against unarmed students trying to ensure a better future for themselves through education, we must act to ensure that proper, responsible policing procedure is being followed," Plato said.

Meanwhile, ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs, who attended the appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday of arrested students, said the party was dismayed at how the universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town had conducted themselves in the face of student protests, Thulani Rqirana reports.

"The behaviour demonstrate nothing less [than] the absence of leadership. This is shocking given that most leaders of institutions of higher learning have in recent times decried lack of leadership in the country.

"During the successful students demand for the removal of the [Rhodes] statue, the leadership of UCT in particular intimated that universities are an open space for free expression and plurality of ideas.

"The tough stance they are now taking against students - including court interdicts, arrests of students and staff and the bringing in of police into the campus - contradict those earlier pronouncements."

Jacobs criticised "the strong tactics applied by the South African Police Services, Metro Police and private security companies at campuses in the Western Cape, specifically, at UCT and Stellenbosch and at National Parliament".

Read more on:    uct  |  cput  |  cape town  |  university  |  police

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