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SAHRC condemns the reported use of brutal force by police to disperse protesters in Rondebosch

Wednesday, 01 February 2012

The SA Human Rights Commission condemns the reported use of excessive force by police to disperse protesters in Rondebosch in Cape Town. The Commission is in possession of photos and videos showing the alleged brutal attacks on the protesters by the Police. In addition, it is not at all clear to the Commission why a protest march against poor service delivery or the lack thereof is seen as a criminal act by the police as demonstrated by their aggressive reaction in this particular matter.

According to reports a group of loosely-based organisations formed a coalition comprising of various communities; to hold its People’s Jobs, Land & Housing Summit in Rondebosch. The summit called Occupy Rondebosch sought to highlight issues of poverty, homelessness and dissatisfaction with the lack of service delivery to the poor and dispossessed of Cape Town.

The fact that permission to march was refused by the Cape Town City Council did not give the police the right to apply force to a peaceful and non violent march.

While the Commission does not condone disobedience to the laws of this country by any person, such as marching without a permit, it equally does not countenance the use of force against a peaceful march by unarmed people as happened in this matter.

The increasing number of service delivery protest marches against Government in the country is of grave concern to the Commission, and it is indeed indicative of the Government’s inability or failure to adequately meet the expectations of its citizens by rendering the appropriate service delivery to the poorest of the poor.  

In addition, the Commission’s 7th Economic and Social Rights Report indicates that there seems to be a conceptual misunderstanding by the Government of its constitutional obligation to progressively realise economic and social rights.

In the premises the Commission reiterates its stance and opposition to the use of excessive force by the police in dealing with aggrieved protesters.

The Commission will, in collaboration with the Independent Complaints Directorate, pursue this matter to ensure that those who are responsible for this apparent dastardly act are dealt with in terms of the law.


For more information: Vincent Moaga 073 562 9866
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