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[VIDEO] 'Police sjambokked Hillbrow residents on the street with no warning'

1 April 2020 12:01 PM
Tags:
SAPS
Hillbrow
amaBhungane
#Covid19
Covid-19 regulations

AmaBhungane investigative journalist Micah Reddy reports that police said their orders 'came from the top'.

Most South Africans are, by now, aware of the shocking footage that's circulating on social media of law enforcement's heavy-handedness while enforcing the current lockdown.

In the latest incident, investigative journalists from AmaBhungane witnessed a plainclothes policeman chasing and beating people with a sjambok in Johannesburg's Hillbrow on Monday.

RELATED: Woman describes how cops beat her husband for being in his own yard

Micah Reddy, investigative journalist at amaBhungane gives an eyewitness account of police brutality in Hillbrow.

Together with a colleague, he followed an unmarked hatchback occupied by a plainclothes policeman and three uniformed colleagues.

The car, reports Reddy, stopped at various points, where the same scene would play itself out over and over.

Every now and again this car would stop and a man in plainclothes would jump out and chase people with a sjambok and beat them if he caught them and it was sort of random.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

Reddy says there was no attempt to find out if the people on the street were there for good reason, like getting grocery or medical supplies.

There were no questions asked. He would just get up and chase people down. There was no attempt to reason with people or to give warning or anything like that.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

The group of policemen were quite brazen and told the journalists they were "following orders from the top".

We did confront the police officers in this vehicle... They didn't specify who had issued those orders, but they saw us filming them, it didn't stop them.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

They said they had to do this, that they had to resort to very strict measures to enforce the law

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

We did see a lot of police convoys... one [convoy] said they were locking down bars and clubs... That all seemed fairly orderly.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

Reddy adds that another convoy they followed down a road, shot at people with rubber bullets.

It wasn't entirely clear who they were shooting at, but we assumed they were just shooting at groups of people who'd gathered on the street.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

Hillbrow is one one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the country and to expect people to stay locked up in apartments that are dreadfully overcrowded... a lot are informally partitioned... may seem like an unreasonable demand to put on people.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

Reddy says they approached the police as well as police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), for right of reply and comment on the article but didn't get a response by the time of going to print.

We could not get through to Ipid [the hotline] and I think that's very worrying... because these are unprecedented circumstances.

Micah Reddy, Investigative journalist - AmaBhungane

Watch the shocking footage they filmed below:

Listen to Refilwe Moloto's interview with the journalist:


1 April 2020 12:01 PM
Tags:
SAPS
Hillbrow
amaBhungane
#Covid19
Covid-19 regulations

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