The conduct of Minister Fikile Mbalula and SAPS members involved in the arrest of the 10 men alleged to have been responsible for the Phillipi killings is a serious violation of these individual’s human and constitutional rights.
Media reports indicate that the men were arrested, tied up and left to wait by the roadside for three hours to allow Mbalula to arrive and take pictures to post on social media. The suspects allege that they were beaten by the police and interrogated by Mbalula while still at the side of the road.
The DA will write to the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) requesting them to investigate the conduct of the Minister and the police officers concerned, since there appears to have been a clear violation of Section 35 of the Constitution, which deals with the rights of arrested, detained and accused persons.
IPID must investigate a case of assault against the police officers concerned. Section 10 of the Bill of Rights underscores that persons, including arrested or accused persons, have the right to human dignity, to be free of all forms of violence from either public or private sources including the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.
It is not the first time that the Minister has posted photos of arrested people, with the faces of some in full view. Mbalula has no idea how to build a professional and efficient police force. He is far more interested in selfies and increasing his following on Twitter.
The SAHRC must therefore investigate the pictures and posts of arrested persons made by the Minister to date in order to determine whether or not human rights abuses have taken place, and make recommendations on it.
We need to ramp up the fight against crime but this should not be at the expense of the constitution. Every accused person has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The fact that six of the men arrested in Phillipi have since been released without any charges, shows that the Minister and the police officers concerned violated their rights and must be held responsible.
The DA looks forward to a timely conclusion of the SAHRC and IPID investigations to ensure that the Minister and SAPS conduct themselves lawfully in the execution of their responsibilities.
Issued by DA