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Mbalula denies wrongful arrest of 11 men in CT

The Police Minister says officers did nothing wrong when they arrested a group of suspects on the N1 on Friday night. The men were later released without being charged.

FILE: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture:  EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Police Minister is on the defensive after allegations of wrongful arrest emerged in The Times newspaper.

Fikile Mbalula says police did nothing wrong when they arrested a group of suspects on the N1 on Friday night.

Police pulled over a group of men, cable-tied their hands and forced them to lie face down for hours.

They were later released without being charged.

Police suspected the men of being connected to the murder of 11 people in Philippi two weeks ago.

That case made national headlines and prompted action from Mbalula.

He's visited the community several times now, talking tough on crime.

During Friday's police operation he took to Twitter, posting a photo of the men handcuffed and lying face down on the ground along the roadside.

It turns out the men were part of a funeral convoy transporting the remains of a friend to the Eastern Cape.

But Mbalula says he and police are not in the wrong here.

“They were actually arrested because of their departed friend who was a suspect to the police. And there is nothing called wrongful arrest. Wrongful arrest is if we keep people in the custody beyond the prescribed order.”

Since the Philippi incident made national headlines there have been a series of crime crackdowns in the area yielding more than 200 arrests. But as yet, nobody has been positively linked to the shootings.

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