Police brutality and service delivery protests
Mphutlane wa Bofelo
2011-04-21, Issue 526
The six policemen arrested for the murder of protestor, Andries Tatane in Meqheleng Township in Ficksburg in South Africa’s Free State are 'political scapegoats'. To put it bluntly, the six are 'sacrificial goats' on the altar of populist, grandstanding and electioneering politics. Their arrest is a quick ploy to take attention away from the systemic factors that inform police brutality. It is aimed at absolving the collective responsibility of South African Police Services (SAPS) and its political principal, the ANC-led government. It is the timing of the incident rather than government's intolerance to police brutality that informs the arrest of the six cops. The number of incidents of intimidation, harassment, torture, arrest and shooting of protestors by police during peaceful protest action in the post 1994, neo-apartheid dispensation is alarming. Families, individuals and organisations that lay complaints to the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) and various state institutions about incidents of illegal arrests and illegal shootings, harassment and torture and ‘disappeared dockets’ often wait forever for any kind of response.