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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Police sjambokking complaints mount

1 February 2021

THE SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has intervened in 
Atlantis where a shocking 32 complaints against SAPS officials have been lodged for allegedly sjambokking 
suspects apprehended during a service delivery demonstration last year.Two of the complaints are by minors, and one case involves a woman who was badly injured and had to be hospitalised. Scores of people in the area took to the streets in July last year to demonstrate for better services, including the provision of social housing and water and sanitation.
Police had arrested several suspects, with further information alleging 
that police beat the suspects with a sjambok while they were in the holding cells.

The Cape Times is in possession of a signed affidavit by an Atlantis SAPS station captain admitting to a sjambok being found on the premises two days after the alleged assaults.

A total of 32 complaints have been lodged with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), for charges relating to beating of minors and adults with sjamboks, assault and attempted murder.

Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola said: “The cases are still under investigation.”

No answers were forthcoming on whether the officers had been suspended in the meantime.

The case has come to light on the back of Worcester police being investigated after a video went viral showing them beating two suspects with a sjambok last week.

SAHRC provincial commissioner Chris Nissen said he and commission monitors visited the Atlantis police 
station last week to meet with the station commander and host a workshop with police officers.

He said the commission would monitor the investigation by Ipid until completion.

“Sjamboks are not official weapons allowed in the SAPS.“It is illegal and the officers can be criminally charged.

“SAPS members are trained on how to bring order in disorderly situations.

“It does not include the use of sjamboks.

“I’ve heard of this trend over and over in the Western Cape.

“We had a meeting with the station commander and the team (on Wednesday), and I must say I was impressed with their commitment to change things around.

“We will be on this case until the Ipid investigation is complete,” Nissen said.

The provincial police office, when approached for comment, confirmed that Ipid was handling the matter.

Source: IOL

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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