AfriForum requests intervention from National Police Commissioner

AfriForum today directed a letter to Gen. Khehla Sitole, National Police Commissioner, in which the civil rights organisation requests him to launch an investigation into the Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner and her management team’s ill-considered action during the handling of a peaceful protest action in the CBD of Cape Town.

AfriForum on 24 July 2020 directed a letter to Lt. Gen. Yolisa Matakata, Western Cape Police Commissioner, in which the organisation requested reasons for the unnecessary and brutal action against members of the hospitality industry. In the letter the organisation expressed its shock regarding the brutal action against these members that participated in a peaceful protest in Cape Town. The SAPS sprayed protestors with a water cannon, while teargas grenades and stun grenades were also launched at them.

After various letters of demand to the Provincial Police Commissioner to supply an explanation, the organisation at last received a letter from Matakata on 27 August in which she mentions that, in terms of Regulation 37 of the Disaster Management Act, all gatherings are prohibited apart from a few exceptions, according to which this gathering does not resort under any of the exceptions.

“The action of the SAPS during the peaceful protest where the participants were identified as soft targets, in contradiction to their hesitation to act against those people threatening other people’s property and lives by means of criminal and violent elements, indicates sub-standard training and the accompanying inability of the SAPS to maintain law and order. In the light of this, we at AfriForum made our discontent known regarding Matakata’s poor defence and rejected her argument that the use of the water cannon formed part of minimum violence in this instance,” says Thomas van Dalen, AfriForum’s Acting Head of Community Safety for the southern region.

Van Dalen concluded by saying that AfriForum is positive that the National Police Commissioner will regard their request in a positive light.

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