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Police will use necessary force when enforcing lockdown regulations - Cele

The minister has responded to incidents of police brutality against his officers, saying while he won’t condone the heavy-handed approach by police, officials won’t be called to be sacrificial lambs.

Police make an arrest in Hillbrow, Johannesburg during day one of the coronavirus lockdown on 27 March 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele said that officers would use force where necessary and in line with the law when enforcing lockdown regulations.

The minister has responded to incidents of police brutality against his officers, saying while he won’t condone the heavy-handed approach by police, officials won’t be called to be sacrificial lambs.

Minister Cele's key points on crime during lockdown

Last week, the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favor of Collins Khosa’s family, finding that the conduct of SANDF officials implicated in his murder violated human rights.

Minister Cele said that the law was clear when it came to how and when officers were allowed to use excessive force.

"The Criminal Procedure Act 49 explains the proportionality you are supposed to use when you arrest citizens. If you arrest a citizen, you don't use any force but it is allowed that you use."

Cele said that while they would abide by some of the court’s findings in the Collins Khosa matter, they would be appealing some aspects of the judgment.

"We thought that looking at it that it will have to be appealed, we don't think that we are keen on compliance with that one."

Last week, the High Court in Pretoria instructed that the SANDF and police develop and publish codes of conduct and guidelines on how members may enforce lockdown operations and the use of minimum force.

The court also ruled that Cele and the Defence Minister report to the court about internal investigations into Khosa’s death, along with other probes.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.

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