Police release guidelines for the use of force during lockdown

Guidelines for the use of force by security forces enforcing the lockdown were released this week, in line with an order by the high court in Pretoria.

On May 15, Judge Hans Fabricius made a series of orders in the case of Collins Khosa, who died after an altercation with the South African National Defence Force and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department. His family said he was brutally assaulted by the soldiers and police officers and died a few hours later.

One of Fabricius’s orders was that guidelines for the use of force during the lockdown must be developed and publicised within five days. 

On Tuesday, attorneys for the South African Police Service (Saps) said they were expecting to appeal the decision. The guidelines — set out in a circular from national police commissioner Khehla Sitole — are dated May 19. It was unclear on Thursday morning, May 21, whether the police still intended to pursue an appeal because the Saps could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The 12-page guideline sets out in detail the limited circumstances in which enforcement officers may use force to secure an arrest: “A member who uses force for any other purpose (such as to punish or teach a suspect a lesson) may himself or herself be guilty of an offence, such as assault, assault GBH [with intent to do grievous bodily harm], attempted murder etc.”


It also says that the use or attempted of torture is a criminal offence, adding that torture includes inflicting pain on a person to get information or punish them. “No exception, such as a state of disaster, a state of war or a threat of war, state of emergency, internal political or any other public emergency will  serve as a justification for torture — there can simply be no justification for torture, ever.”

Fabricius also ordered that internal investigations by the police and defence ministries had to be finalised and submitted to court by June 4.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
Franny is the legal reporter at the Mail & Guardian

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Ithala fails to act against board chairperson over PPE scandal

Morar asked to settle with the state and pay back the profit he made on an irregular tender

Vodacom swindled out of more than R24m worth of iPhones

A former employee allegedly ran an intricate scam to steal 8700 phones from the cellular giant

More top stories

North West premier in phone tapping claims

‘Agents’ working for Job Mokgoro allegedly tapped ANC and cabinet members’ phones

Judicial Conduct Committee orders Mogoeng to apologise for his remarks...

The JCC said that by the chief justice straying into politics, he breached the judicial conduct code and ordered him to issue an apology and retraction

‘Doctors’ wives’ jump Covid queue

Private doctors and civilians have been exploiting gaps in the public health system to get vaccinated

DA admits it cannot cut ANC support to less than...

The official opposition’s leader John Steenhuisen has called its mission to slash the ANC voter share unrealistic during a parliamentary meeting, as the party deals with financial challenges and a fresh round of staff retrenchments
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…