NATIONAL NEWS - Despite pressure from Afriforum, KwaDukuza municipality has refused to hand over a copy of the investigation report that exonerated KDM peace officers from any wrongdoing in a controversial altercation involving a child at Chaka’s Rock last month.
During the incident 11 people, including a pregnant woman and an elderly couple, were arrested for allegedly visiting the beach, which was banned under level 4 restrictions.
The incident on May 11, which was captured on video and received national interest, shows the officers allegedly trying to remove a screaming four-year-old boy from a complex while his father tries to pull him from them.
The officers arrived at the complex to arrest the father of the toddler and several other families.
Advocate Gerrie Nel, who heads Afriforum’s private prosecution unit, is representing six of the 11 residents charged with contravening the lockdown regulations. They were released on R1000 bail and are expected to appear in court in August.
In a four-page letter to acting mayor, Dolly Govender on May 20, Nel asked for full disclosure of the investigation report, including written statements and oral transcripts made by officials and other witnesses the municipality relied on reaching its conclusion that the officers had not been guilty of misconduct.
Nel said that none of his clients had been consulted or asked to provide their version of the event.
The municipality also did not reply to his inquiry about the failure of the peace officers to wear masks and to maintain a reasonable social distance.
Afriforum spokesperson Natasha Venter said: “AfriForum’s request was very clear – we did not expect the municipality to do an investigation, but simply to provide the information on which basis the municipality put the residents on trial and found them guilty in the public domain.”
Venter said it remained an unanswered question whether the municipal officials had the power to arrest 11 people within the framework and prescriptions of the Criminal Procedure Act.
“The municipality can simply not rely on its argument that the incident is sub judice, which bars them from making any information available.
“The question of whether criminal charges were submitted against the residents has no influence on the investigation into the peace officers’ alleged unfair and arbitrary actions,” she said.
Venter said that Afriforum would continue to apply pressure on the municipality to ensure that they obtained the necessary information to finalise their investigation and bring the responsible parties to book for their actions.