Imbalanced behaviour – this is how Police Minister Bheki Cele referred to police action when dealing with the breaking of Disaster Risk Management regulations in Cape Town.
Referring to the police using a water cannon on people queuing for Sassa grants in Bellville in January after instructing them to socially distance, Cele said police management had not acted correctly in dealing with the incident.
“We twice went to the Western Cape to say police must explain, with management, to us why they would go to Bellville, to vulnerable, elderly, sick, young, disabled, hungry, desperate people and use the method that you use on people that are protesting.
“Those people were not protesting.”
He added he had called for a report into what had transpired.
Cele criticised the police’s action at a protest in Muizenberg where protesters broke lockdown regulations while calling for beaches to be reopened.
“At the same time, the police looked at the people who are breaking the law, who are saying we shall not respect the law. It’s a matter we have raised and action is being taken on it.”
In February, two journalists were attacked at an anti-mask protest at Fish Hoek beach.
eNCA journalist Monique Mortlock was assaulted while attempting to interview an anti-mask protest organiser. The man also ripped her mask off.
Journalist Athi Mtongana from Newzroom Afrika was also attacked.
“I went to two police stations [in the jurisdictions] where the female journalists were abused by those thugs because those guys were nothing but thugs,” he said.
“One of the journalists went to our station at Fish Hoek to open a case. They were abused at the police station. I am very glad that action has been taken against the captain… who abused that journalist. That same journalist went to another police station where the case was reported,” he said.
“It’s this question of finding this imbalanced kind of behaviour from our members and our police stations. But we simply say where they are not doing well, we will take action.”