A group of mourners has severely assaulted a Johannesburg Metro Police Department official in Soweto.
The officer was part of a team that went to disperse an “after-tears” gathering in Protea Glen Extension 7 following the burial of a well-known pub owner.
While some of the mourners left – others were defiant.
The officer was injured during a scuffle with the resistant crowd while the law enforcement officers were confiscating the group’s alcohol.
He suffered an unjury to his face.
Two suspects were arrested for the incident. “The main suspect who started the assault fled the scene but left his vehicle, which was impounded,” says JMPD Spokesperson, Xolani Fihla.
Fihla says the duo has been charged with assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm and the contravention of the Disaster Management Act for Adjusted Level 3 Regulations.
They were detained at the Protea Glen Police Station, while their victim is recuperating in hospital.
“The JMPD condemns the assault of any police official and we cannot allow that to happen because the attack on police officers who are legally executing their duties is an attack on the rule of law and the city,” Fihla adds.
Gatherings and the consumption of alcohol in public spaces are banned in South Africa under the adjusted level 3 lockdown that is meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
So far, Gauteng alone has 346 482 COVID-19 cases and 6 606 deaths. – Report by Jozi FM News Editor, Moshe Maswanganyi.
The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) says officials who abuse their power when dealing with street vendors will be investigated and dealt with.
Spokesperson for the JMPD, Xolani Fihla, made the remark while speaking on Voice of Wits’ Breaking Ground programme on challenges faced by street entrepreneurs in the city and the role of the department.
He says when an informal trader transgresses bylaws – officers should explain to them what they have done before confiscating their goods.
“When your goods are encountered, you have to receive a receipt. If an officer or an official takes your goods without explaining why and where they are taking your goods and how much you have to pay for you to get your goods back – you have to call the JMPD anti-corruption hotline, which is 0800 203 712 and other structures from the City of Joburg you can contact the group forensic and investigations offices.”
Answering complaints of business owners chasing away hawkers outside their buildings in the city, Fihla slammed such practices.
He says companies running business in buildings across Johannesburg have no right to evict hawkers because the city belongs to the local municipality.
Fihla has advised those wishing to run businesses in the city to consult relevant departments, such as the environmental health and the JMPD by-laws unit, for legal and accurate assistance.