Mbalula defends photo release
Arrested men threaten to sue for image
POLICE minister Fikile Mbalula has urged officers to continue to “harass” criminals, and denied wrongfully arresting eight men on their way to a funeral and illegally searching their coffin and corpse.
His call came after The Times reported how Mbalula posted images of eight men – arrested in connection with the Marikana killings in Cape Town – on Twitter.
The men were released a day before Mbalula took to social media to post an image identifying the men.
They had been on their way to the Eastern Cape with the body of a family member on Friday October 6 when stopped and forced to lie on the ground for three hours, waiting for Mbalula to arrive, before being taken into custody.
They claimed they were assaulted by officers and police searched the coffin and corpse, and said they intended to sue the police.
Saturday Dispatch contacted one of the arrested men, Zukile Skade, who said they were busy consulting their lawyers.
“Please call us again after an hour. We are still busy with our lawyers about the matter.’’
However Skade could not be contacted again.
Addressing the media in with Hanover Park, Cape Town, yesterday about police preparations for the festive season, Mbalula said the deceased was a suspect and the men were linked to him. Thus they were taken into custody.
“The police arrested suspects and upon investigating, we were not satisfied that … we can proceed and prosecute them,” he said.
Responding to possible legal action against the police due to the incident, Mbalula said he would defend officers for doing their jobs.
“They must continue to harass criminals,” he said.
Mbalula also slammed DA leader Mmusi Maimane for saying he would join the men and their legal action against the police.
“It’s outrageous, and I will join law action against him for this,” Maimane tweeted in response to The Times’ report.
Earlier, Skade said: “The statements that the Minister has been making on social media did not help the situation. He tweeted our pictures and said our testicles must be crushed.
“I operate a taxi service. I also transport schoolchildren. I am being linked to a massacre. I have received many calls since the day we were released. We want compensation,” said Skade. — Additional reporting by Tyler Riddin, Philani Nombembe, and Aron Hyman
GROUNDED: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula near men who the SAPS said were involved in the Marikana violence