DA launches WhatsApp hotline to report law enforcement brutality during lockdown

The DA has launched two dedicated platforms that the public can use to report violations by law enforcement officers such as assault, abuse or bribery during the current lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19.

This is after numerous videos of assaults, allegedly by law enforcement officers, during the first days of the lockdown were shared on social media.

Interim DA leader John Steenhuisen said the WhatsApp line and e-mail account will be used to advise citizens on their rights, and also to raise and lodge their complaints with the relevant authorities and oversight bodies.

“The nation is only six days into this lockdown and we have already seen increased violence at the hands of those who were tasked with protecting and serving us.”

According to Steenhuisen, the WhatsApp number and e-mail address will be monitored by a task team of DA MPs who form part of the security and justice clusters in parliament.

“There are numerous videos on social media showing police and army officers increasingly brutalising and humiliating members of the public. Some South Africans were threatened and assaulted in their own backyards and while standing in line to buy the essentials,” he said.

Steenhuisen said the alleged law enforcement brutality was a “gross abuse of the power” entrusted to the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The opposition leader also said there was “an urgent need” for oversight and monitoring of SANDF’s deployment in the country, as well as the police’s conduct.