Deplorable behaviour by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members laid bare in the videos that went viral on social media is disgusting.
In one of the incidents, a video lets slip a member of the SANDF and a Metro police officer standing behind a circle of a group men, giving instructions, kicking and forcing them to squat and do pushups.
A man in camouflage uniform and traffic officer took advantage of the gathering, allegedly for not complying with the Covid-19 lockdown guidelines.
“This behaviour is deplorable and disgusting. DA condemns the incidents in the strongest terms”, DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kobus Marais said in a statement.
Upon viewing the videos, said Marais the DA wrote to the Military Ombudsman, General Vusi Masondo, to request an independent investigation.
“The SANDF’s actions violate the military mandate and the Bill of Rights,” said Marais.
Marias said acting Chief of the Army, Major General M.J. De Goede confirmed the matter is under investigation.
“We trust that this investigation will be transparent and that the SANDF and police officer involved will be accountable for their deplorable behaviour,” said Marais.
While we agree that those who do not follow the lockdown regulations should face the consequences for their actions, in accordance with the lockdown regulations, we condemn any act which seeks to humiliate and degrade citizens.
Marais said the DA has also written to the Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, about the deplorable behaviour.
“South Africa is a constitutional democracy, not a military state. Despite the country being in an unprecedented period in our democratic history, the Bill of Rights and we must adhere to our Constitution to at all times,” added Marias.
Meanwhile, the DA welcomes the arrest of an Ekurhuleni Metro Police officer allegedly for killing of Sibusiso Amos (40) of Vosloorus.
DA Shadow Minister of Police, Andrew Whitfield said Amos was allegedly shot and killed on Sunday by EMPD officer, and a second man, enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I will submit an incident report to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on all instances reported to me of excessive violence and misconduct at the hands of law enforcement officials.
While police officials have a mandate to enforce the lockdown regulations without fear or favour, the blatant display of violence, disregard of human rights and incidents of humiliation is disgraceful. This goes against the foundations of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Whitefield.
He said the DA is calling for Parliament to set up an ad hoc committee to perform executive oversight and ensure protection of civil liberties during the lockdown, adding that these cases of violence and abuse cannot go unabated.