Police watchdog launches investigation after video of incident went viral
South Africans have expressed outrage after a video showing plain-clothed officers attached to the deputy president’s security team stomping on men on a busy Johannesburg highway.
Officers traveling in a convoy were seen assaulting three men who were in a car. One of the victims lay unconscious on the tarmac after he was kicked in the head.
“This is what happens daily to South Africans under the hands of police. This came to light because a video was recorded. Police brutality is a big problem in our country,” Malume Jaki, a taxi driver in Johannesburg, told Anadolu.
Anger and debates on how VIP protection officers should conduct themselves have dominated social media spaces and local broadcasters across the country.
“Those protection officers must be subjected to disciplinary hearing for public assault and bringing the deputy president (Paul Mashatile) into disrepute. Let the law take its course,” Lindie Langa, a Twitter user, said.
The deputy president who was reportedly not in the convoy at the time of the incident said in a statement that he “abhors any unnecessary use of force, particularly against unarmed civilians.”
He said that Gen. Fannie Masemola, the national commissioner of police, has promised a thorough investigation into the incident.
In a statement, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), a subsidiary of the South African Police Service (SAPS), said that it is investigating the incident and that its officers have already contacted the victims.
“IPID has already also engaged SAPS management who are offering their full cooperation as far as IPID Investigation is concerned,” the statement said.