Child in Shaka's Rock arrest video was not manhandled, says municipality
As the KwaDukuza municipality cleared its officers of wrongdoing over the "arrest" of a four-year-old in breach of lockdown regulations, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has called for an investigation into what happened.
The municipality released its findings on Tuesday afternoon following an internal investigation into what happened on Sunday when two peace officers were filmed in a "scuffle" with a father and his four-year-old son at Shaka's Rock, on the KZN north coast.
But not long afterwards, Zikalala said: "We do not condone any form of abuse against citizens, especially children ... Hence, we are requesting the MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, together with the MEC for co-operative governance & traditional affairs, to ensure that they investigate this incident.
"We appeal for cool heads and also appeal to our people to respect the regulations of the lockdown to prevent any unnecessary confrontation with law-enforcement officers."
KwaDukuza spokesperson Sipho Mkhize said their officers received a complaint that the Disaster Management Act regulations were being breached at the Shaka's Rock tidal beach.
"It was around 8.45am when officers arrived ... and observed people at the beach while it is not allowed during lockdown level 4, in the company of kids," he said.
Mkhize said the officers informed 11 people found in breach of the regulations - he referring to them as "transgressors" - before placing them under arrest.
"There were seven kids as officers were effecting the arrest, and four kids were handed over correctly and safely to their homes and with no harm," he said.
Mkhize said the other three children were being processed to be handed over to their homes safely when the drama captured on video took place.
He said the municipality could confirm that the child was handled correctly in terms of Children's Act, and was being taken to a safe place after the arrest of the father, who works for health department.
"It is the officer's responsibility, as in this case, to secure and safely keep a child in cases of arrests by taking the child to a safe place, which was the case with these officers - not manhandling the child," said Mkhize.
"We have learnt that the man causing drama by running away to avoid arrest is an employee of the department of health at Chief Albert Luthuli hospital," he added.
TimesLIVE earlier made contact with the father, who said his family had been traumatised by the incident.