WhatsApp or email the DA to report police or military abuse - John Steenhuisen

2020-04-01 15:41
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. (Jan Gerber/News24)

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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The DA has launched dedicated platforms which the public can use to report transgressions by law enforcement officers.

This comes after numerous videos of assaults, allegedly by police and military personnel, during the first days of the lockdown in the country were shared on social media.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said the party now has a dedicated WhatsApp number and email address which members of the public can use to report assaults, abuse or bribery by law enforcement officers. The public can also use the platforms to seek information about their legal rights during the 21-day lockdown.

At the time of publication, the number of positive cases in South Africa was 1 353 and the number of coronavirus-related deaths was five. Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have the most cases in the country.

Task team to monitor

"The WhatsApp number and email address will be monitored by a task team of DA MPs that form part of the security and justice clusters in Parliament. They are experts in their fields and will be able to provide expert advice to the South African public," Steenhuisen said. 

He said in the six days of the lockdown so far, the party observed an increase in violence at the hands of law enforcement.

"On Tuesday, reports indicated that the police shot two nurses at the Bongani Regional Hospital in Welkom, and on Monday, an Ekurhuleni Metro police officer was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a Vosloorus man while enforcing the lockdown," Steenhuisen said. 

Charges against the officer have since been dropped while the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigates the matter further. 

READ | Gauteng lockdown shooting: Metro cop free for now as IPID investigation continues

"There are numerous videos on social media showing police and army officers increasingly brutalising and humiliating members of the public. Some South Africans were threatened and assaulted in their own backyards and while standing in line to buy the essentials. This is a gross abuse of the power entrusted to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)," he added.

Last week the DA wrote to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise asking her to set up an oversight body to monitor the military and the executive during the lockdown. 

In the days before the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the military, saying that they must avoid the use of force. 

READ | Ramaphosa deploys SANDF on a mission of kindness, not to skop en donner

"The role of the military is to ensure that lockdown measures are enforced while remembering that South Africans do have rights, even in these unprecedented times. These rights have been hard-fought for and must not be so flagrantly disregarded and disrespected by those few in uniforms that misunderstood their mandate," Steenhuisen said.

For expert advice and to report incidents of abuse, members of the public can WhatsApp the DA on 067 977 9324 or email reportpoliceabuse@da.org.za.

Read more on:    saps  |  da  |  crime

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