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SJC to lay complaint with Ipid over ‘police brutality’ during CT protest

SJC general secretary Axolile Notywala claims to have been assaulted by police shortly after he was taken into custody during a peaceful protest outside the Civic Centre.

Residents from Khayelitsha, Philippi East, Kraaifontein and Hout Bay protesting out Cape Town’s Civic Centre on 31 January 19. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) says it’s decided to lay a formal complaint with police watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Social Justice Coalition general secretary Axolile Notywala claims to have been assaulted by police shortly after he was taken into custody during a peaceful protest outside the Civic Centre in Cape Town on Thursday.

The SJC organised the demonstration that saw scores of residents from informal settlements across the city protest for water, flushing toilets and electricity.

Notywala says he plans to lay complaints with Ipid, and possibly the South African Human Rights Commission, in connection with what he calls the police’s violent response to peaceful protesters.

He says once arrested, he was kept in handcuffs for two hours without being charged or processed.

“While in the kombi, one officer told me to sit on the floor and when I asked why, he slapped me five times until I sat on the floor.”

Notywala says officers set off four stun grenades without first communicating with non-violent demonstrators, who would have moved away from the Civic Centre’s entrance if they were asked.

“What the SA Police Service and the City of Cape Town did on Thursday was appalling, it was violent and uncalled for and reminiscent of apartheid. Sadly, this has been the norm for us as poor black people when attempting to engage with the government.”

The organisation will also be writing a letter to Police Minister Bheki Cele, asking him to deal with the officers involved.

WATCH: Protesters demand access to water from CT mayor