Ramaphosa orders police minister to probe officers for alleged violations during #TheTotalShutdown march

09 August 2018 - 14:48 By Nico Gous
A tearful Xoliswa Buthelezi at the #TotalShutdown march in Pietermaritzburg on August 1, 2018.
A tearful Xoliswa Buthelezi at the #TotalShutdown march in Pietermaritzburg on August 1, 2018.
Image: Jackie Clausen

President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered Police Minister Bheki Cele to investigate two police officers concerning alleged violations during the #TheTotalShutdown march against gender-based violence and femicide last week.

“One of them slapped one of the women who were marching and one of them insulted some of the women.”

Ramaphosa announced this on Thursday during his speech at the National Women’s Day Event in Mbekweni‚ Paarl‚ in the Western Cape.

The incident happened on Wednesday last week outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria during the nationwide marches. The police and protesters reportedly clashed on the lawns of the Union Buildings when they insisted on meeting with Ramaphosa.

“I have instructed the Minister of Police [Bheki Cele] to investigate this matter and make sure that we take action against those police officers with immediate effect.”

Two convenors of the march in Pretoria were charged by the police‚ however National Police Commissioner General Khehla John Sitole later announced that the case had been closed as it was unfounded.

Organisers said in a statement on Monday the convenors were part of the crowd that had marched to the Union Buildings. #TheTotalShutdown spokesperson Avela Faye said a case had been opened at the Sunnyside police station‚ adding that the charges related to their permits to protest and “the demand to not vacate the premises without seeing the president”.

Sitole said later on Monday he viewed the case against the two convenors in a "very serious light".

“At no stage was the police management informed that the protesters‚ #TotalShutdown‚ have transgressed in any way before‚ during or after the protest march. Therefore‚ police management finds it surprising that a case of such a nature would be opened. In light of this‚ a decision has been taken to close this docket as being unfounded.”