The Forceful brutality of the South African Police Services render a fearful disposition for those living under their jurisdiction. The injustices caused from the cruel actions of police officers reveal a daunting outline for a new democracy.
More South African civilians have died in police custody or shoot outs in the past five years than ever before. The rise in the abusive and violent behavior of the police escalates at alarming rates.
On January 8, 2014, a Gauteng police officer was arrested for driving a stolen car. He was apprehended at a roadblock, and the arresting traffic officer said that he would arrest anybody, irrespective of whom they were if they crossed the wrong side of the law.
This is one of the rare instances when justice works. The officer was doing his job diligently.
On Monday January 6, police and protesters faced a standoff when residents of Kagiso, on the West Rand, protested against the open-cast mining in that area. The residents would barricade the road with burning tires and throw stones at the police officers who would retaliate with firing rounds of rubber bullets.
This little incident continued for three days with no resolution in sight. The tense police officers would sometime ride through the barricades at a high-speed to try to disperse the rioters, who in turn continued to throw stones at the police. The antagonism between police and residents continued for an entire afternoon, with residents putting large blocks of concrete in the road. The police could not move through the large concrete slabs which had to be removed physically. The police continue to use forceful behavior toward the public. It is a show of strength and to intimidate the people living there.
Another aspect of their abuses is the reality of the police shielding gangsters. Apparently during December 2013, an incident of taxi violence occurred and resulted in the death of two taxi bosses and a 15-year-old. The perpetrators were never arrested.
While the forceful brutality of the Police Services continues to escalate, The Hawks (South Africa’s new Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) have revealed that seven men accused of violence and murders have possibly been shielded by police officers and a prosecutor. It appears that there is no formal investigation into this case. The Hawks have arrested the primary key player, and this followed the arrest of another three men who allegedly attempted to assassinate witnesses. They have recovered a car and a gun used to commit the murders.
A distraught man who was travelling with over a million Rand in the trunk of his car admitted that he was speeding. Two traffic officers travelling in an unmarked vehicle apprehended him. He was read his rights and informed of his arrest. The officers searched the vehicle and discovered the bags of cash. The two officers said they would have to involve other officials into this matter, and they drove toward the central police station. Soon the two vehicles stopped, and the officers told the detained man who the money had to be counted. He saw the officers hiding some of the cash behind the seat, and he asked them why they were doing this. They told him they would take half of the cash. He was threatened with a firearm, and in no uncertain terms, told they would kill him and throw his body into a nearby bush. Frightened he ran to his car and drove off.
Fortunately he had the sense to record the police vehicle details and opened a case of theft against the police. It was confirmed that the police were on duty when this incident occurred.
In the interests of preserving public safety, four police officers have been arrested after a suspect died. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) confirmed that the officers were detained after a man they had arrested died. The detained man, arrested for drunk driving on December 25 was placed in custody. He sustained multiple injuries all over his body.
The officers claimed that the man resisted arrest and, during transportation from the district surgeon office to the police station, he kicked the door of the van and sustained injuries while doing so. It was alleged that the man tried to jump out of the van and fell on his face injuring his face and head.
It is clearly another example of abuse by the police officers. In order to protect themselves, they will lie and distort the truth.
There were 47 unnatural deaths, including four murders, committed by prison warders recorded in 2011. Seventeen percent of assaults in prison are committed by warders on inmates. The report stated that inmates were assaulted with batons or shock shields. Some inmates were placed in single cells for days without food or basic amenities.
A total of 71 recorded complaints against officials saw only one disciplinary action taken.
The police behave like gangsters and are ineffective. There is a large bridge of corruption among police and prosecuting authorities.
The forceful brutality of the South African Police Services is disheartening, and raises a question for continued stability in the country. The abuse of detainees continues and escalates at an alarming rate with no solution to this day.
By Laura Oneale