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ANC stands by anti-police brutality campaign despite Cele criticism

Last week, ANC NEC member and Police Minister Bheki Cele told party members in KwaZulu-Natal Natal that the campaign turned the community against the police.

Police Minister Bheki Cele at an inter-ministerial briefing on the coronavirus in Pretoria on 13 March 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) said that it stood by its anti-police brutality campaign despite criticism from the party’s NEC member and Police Minister Bheki Cele that it played into the hands of criminals.

Last week, Cele told ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal Natal through a virtual lecture that the campaign turned the community against the police.

The ANC launched the campaign in solidarity with US protests against police brutality after George Floyd died at the hands of police and the deaths of other South Africans who were assaulted by law enforcement officers.

During the virtual lecture, Cele seemed to down-play cases of police brutality in the country.

"We shouldn't behave as a police state does and there is no big brother around that. I still want to sit down with many people and talk about police brutality because I want them to understand what police brutality is."

He said that he was not happy with the ANC’s anti-police brutality campaign, voicing concern that the party was on the territory of criminals.

The party’s spokesperson Pule Mabe said that the campaign stood.

"In the context of the campaign, the police brutality problem was raised as part of the solidarity with nations of the world, especially in the US, where there was a growing concern around police brutality."

He said that Cele should raise matters internally as there were sufficient structures to do so.

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