'In SA there is no police brutality': Cele slams ANC over Black Friday campaign

11 June 2020 - 18:12 By Zimasa Matiwane
Police minister Bheki Cele warned on Thursday that the tripartite alliance's Black Friday campaign could 'give criminals leeway to mobilise against the police'.
Police minister Bheki Cele warned on Thursday that the tripartite alliance's Black Friday campaign could 'give criminals leeway to mobilise against the police'.
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

Police minister Bheki Cele has criticised the ANC’s Black Friday anti-racism campaign, saying it gave criminals a chance to turn the community against the police.

Delivering a virtual lecture to the ANC eThekwini region on Thursday, Cele revealed he was unhappy with the campaign, in which the ANC "shouts police brutality”.

He said the police were not invited to share their side of the story, despite several accusations of excessive force made against police. 

“In South Africa there is no police brutality. We should not behave as if police do as they please. We have arrested more than 300 police who steal alcohol [and] cigarettes. We have structures like the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for accountability.”

The governing ANC and its alliance partners launched the campaign against racism and police brutality on Friday, calling on South Africans to wear black every Friday for three weeks to take a stand against racism.

The organisations mentioned the killing of George Floyd in America. ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the campaign was intended to show solidarity with the movement calling for justice following the killing of George Floyd by police in the US.

Cele said he had reached out to Duarte to express his displeasure with the campaign as he did not believe there was police brutality in South Africa. 

“In SA there are no cover-ups. There is no link between what happened to George Floyd [and] here, because it is racial [violence by police] there and in SA it is not racial [violence].”

Cele said a campaign that paints police in a negative light would be dangerous for law- enforcement officers as well as law-abiding citizens. 

“I told comrade Jessie that [it] will make the communities and criminals kill the police, even with the backing of the ANC,” he said. “[During] Covid-19, five police were brutally murdered - including one that was responding to a gender-based violence case.

“Don't give criminals leeway to mobilise against the police.”

The minister also revealed that two police members were captured in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, on Wednesday and locked inside a shack by people who threatened to burn them alive while chanting slogans of police brutality. 

“Criminals will take take advantage of this campaign,” he warned.


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