Police warn of lawlessness by community

Police Management in the province are warning members of the community to stop unbecoming conduct during the airing of grievances and other related incidences. This is after the community of Machadodorp prevented the local police from attending to complaints yesterday morning, 11 September 2018.

The community stormed the local police station and blocked the way utilising their vehicles, so that police officers could not move out and attend to complaints. At the time another group was busy looting a local shop and by the time police could move out, the shop was already set on fire.

Section 205 of the Constitution states that the police are tasked with, inter alia, maintaining public order and enforcing the law. Any person who in anyway whatsoever, causes police to derail from this mandate shall be dealt with in the harshest possible way.

Late yesterday, the community blockaded the road and in the process burnt two trucks. No arrests have been made as yet and investigation continues.

All the commotion sarted after two men from a local security company allegedly assaulted a community member on Monday, 10 September 2018, an incident captured on video which has gone viral on social media. It seems that the problem started when the victim had a fight with another man employed by a local businessman (whose shop was later burnt) who alerted the security company, hence the assault.

Meanwhile the two men in question, Bruce Botha aged 29 and Wayne Swart aged 20, were arrested yesterday, charged with assault to cause grievous bodily harm and appeared at the Belfast Magistrate’s Court. They were remanded in custody and ordered to reappear at the same court on Friday, 14 September 2018, pending a formal bail application.

Management want to assure the community that the assault incident is receiving attention, therefore urge community members to be at ease and allow police to do their job. Furthermore members of the community are urged to refrain from destroying property and infrastructure when having concerns, no matter how strongly they may feel regarding any matter but vigilantism and violence are not a solution.

The allegation that police arrived at the scene during the alleged assault and did nothing is currently under an internal investigation. At this moment the police management are aware of allegations that police fear to intervene should a certain race be on the wrong side of the law but will act swiftly when the perpetrator is of another race, such narratives are baseless and false. Police in the province carry out their duties without any fear, favour or prejudice without looking at the colour, race or creed of the parties involved.

The complaint that police took the suspects to court without inviting the complainant, is because this was a first appearance, the complainant will be given feedback regarding the investigation and be summoned to court in due course.

Police are currently investigating following charges: two of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson, public violence and malicious damage to property. The situation around Machadodorp is being closely monitored.

Source: South African Police Service