Civil rights organisation AfriForum has cried foul after the KwaDukuza municipality, north of Durban, refused to with a probe, headed by the organisation, into the arrest of 11 Shaka’s Rock residents by municipal peace officers in May.
AfriForum slams Shaka’s Rock officials for snubbing probe into ‘child on beach’ incident
A video of the incident sparked national outrage, going viral on social media. It showed two KwaDukuza traffic officers attempting to escort a four-year-old boy out of a gated complex in the plush seaside town of Shaka’s Rock, on the KZN north coast.
When the father of the child realised what was going on, he attempted to stop the officers, resulting in a tug-of-war over the boy between the 35-year-old father and the officers.
TimesLIVE previously reported that on May 10 a handful of Shaka’s Rock residents were arrested for being in breach of lockdown regulations after they visited the beach on Mother’s Day morning.
Soon after the video went viral the KwaDukuza municipality launched an internal investigation, subsequently clearing the officers of wrongdoing.
AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, under the leadership of advocate Gerrie Nel, stepped in to represent some of the victims whom they claim were subjected to unfair and arbitrary action by municipal officers.
On Friday, AfriForum spokesperson Natasha Venter said the KwaDukuza municipality had, through its attorneys, vehemently refused to provide the investigation report which cleared the officers.
“According to AfriForum’s clients who were part of the incident, the municipality never obtained their versions of the incident for the internal investigation. The municipality also failed in its reply to AfriForum’s enquiry about the failure of the peace officers to wear masks and to maintain a reasonable social distance in the execution of their responsibilities.”
On May 20 Nel wrote to the acting KwaDukuza mayor requesting certain information regarding the matter but the municipality’s attorney quickly hit back, noting that no comment would be given as the matter was before court.
“AfriForum’s request was very clear — we did not expect the municipality to do an investigation but simply to provide the information on which the municipality put the residents on trial and found them guilty in the public domain.”
Venter said it remained an unanswered question whether the municipal officials had the power to arrest 11 people under the Criminal Procedure Act as they were municipal peace officers.
“The municipality can simply not rely on its argument that the incident is sub judice, supposedly preventing them from making information available. The question of whether criminal charges were submitted against the residents has no influence on the investigation into the peace officers’ alleged unfair and arbitrary actions.”
Venter said AfriForum would continue to apply pressure on the municipality to ensure that they obtained the necessary information to finalise their investigation and “bring the responsible parties to book”.
Municipal spokesperson Sipho Mkhize could not be reached for comment.