AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit headed by Adv Gerrie Nel is currently investigating the recent incident of unjust and arbitrary behaviour by municipal peace officers of the KwaDukuza Local Municipality in Ballito. Video footage of two officers manhandling a four-year-old child against his father’s will is currently circulating on social media. It is currently not yet clear what the intention of the officers was and it forms part of the investigation.
The Private Prosecution Unit is currently in contact with various members of the public that were arrested during this incident, as well as with the attorney of the person who appears in the footage. This unit is also investigating other similar cases of peace officers and law enforcement officers in the country abusing their power. The focus is not exclusively on the question whether the officers acted in accordance with the law, but also on the manner in which they treat members of the public – who are just like everybody else trapped in the abnormal circumstances of the nationwide lockdown – in the execution of their duties.
“These types of abuse of power by government officials, who are supposed to be protecting the public, are unacceptable. Law enforcement officials that are entrusted to enforce government’s lockdown regulations (that are usually vague and open for interpretation) must remember that they are not interacting with hardened criminals when it comes to normal members of the public who are trying to make sense of these regulations. We simply cannot allow a precedent to be created where brutality (especially against children) is permissible by government officials,” says Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum.