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Ipid investigates after 8 deaths recorded since lockdown

About a week into the national lockdown, the Ipid said it was working on 12 cases where officers have been implicated in wrongdoing during this period.

South African police officers confiscate unlawfully sold items at an informal trading post in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on 28 March 2020 during the second day of the country's lockdown. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said there had been six deaths as a result of police action, with two other deaths in police custody, making it eight deaths since the start of the lockdown over a week ago.

However, it’s unclear how many of these incidents were unlawful.

Some South Africans have recounted incidents of alleged assaults at the hands of the officials who are tasked with ensuring law and order.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed in various capacities to help enforce the 21-day lockdown across the country.

About a week into the national lockdown, Ipid said it was working on 12 cases where officers had been implicated in wrongdoing during this period.

Acting spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said: “Six of them are assault-related, three are discharge of a firearm and three deaths.”

While scant on the details, Seisa said all the cases were related to the enforcement of regulations aimed at stopping the coronavirus outbreak.

At least two officials are already being forced to account after 40-year-old Sibusiso Amos was fatally shot at his home during a lockdown patrol in Vosloorus last week.

The community is still reeling, with residents saying the lockdown had left them feeling unsafe, even in their own homes.