Mbalula de­fends photo re­lease

Ar­rested men threaten to sue for im­age

Daily Dispatch - - News - By APHIWE DE KLERK and BHONGO JA­COB

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

Pic­ture: SAPS WEST­ERN CAPE

GROUNDED: Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula near men who the SAPS said were in­volved in the Marikana vi­o­lence

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