PRETORIA – The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service has called for the condemnation of the attack on police officers in the area of Burgersfort, Limpopo Province on Monday, 29 July 2019.
Members from the Public Order Police (POP) Unit were responding to a complaint of possible vigilantism at the Burgersfort Magistrate’s Court when they came under attack by an angry and violent mob as seen on a video that has gone viral.
The complaint was that the mob arrived at the court demanding that two alleged murder suspects be handed over to them for “punishment”.
When the POP members arrived at the scene they were attacked by the community resulting in one female member being dragged on the ground and assaulted followed by the police being pelted with stones. Fortunately, there have been no serious injuries reported. The female member was slightly injured.
The police initially withdrew as per standard operational procedures, averting what could have resulted in an even more disastrous situation and then used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
“Given the circumstances, our members handled the situation very professionally, taking into consideration that many lives could have been lost if the police adopted an offensive approach,” said General Khehla Sitole.
“However, the violent behaviour of the Burgersfort community towards the police and the clear lack of respect for the criminal justice process must be condemned by all sectors of Society,” added General Sitole.
Thus far two members of the community have been arrested for public violence and the National Commissioner has called for that the severest punishment permissible by law should be handed down should they be found guilty.
“The behaviour of the community before and during the attack of the police officers is clearly an attempt at undermining of the State,” concluded General Sitole.
In the meantime, the alleged murder suspects have both been remanded in custody for a formal bail application.