Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, has condemned in the “strongest terms what happened in Sedibeng” on Tuesday morning, where six police officers were attacked.
The Police Minister released a statement late on Wednesday evening after allegations that the police had killed a Nigerian man – named as Ibrahim Badmus – during a raid on the man’s house.
Nigerian daily newspaper, The Punch, reported that witnesses said the man had been handcuffed by SA Police who then used “excessive pepper spray on him before he passed out and died due to suffocation”.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS) the man was already dead when they arrived on the scene at 10 am on Tuesday, as part of an operation by the K9 unit at house No. 70 Deforest Street. SAPS said the house is a well-known alleged drug dealer’s house. (Friends of the deceased man reportedly denied this.)
SAPS said it “found four occupants who were inside the house with one occupant of Nigerian nationality deceased.
“It is alleged that one Nigerian man came to the scene and started to attack the SAPS with broken bottles, resulting in 6 police officers from K9 unit being seriously injured. The injured police officers had to be taken to medi-clinic in Vereeniging for medical treatment.”
Mbalula said “no amount of anger can justify the attack on police officers” who represent the state.
The statement said the armed police did “all they could to de-escalate an explosive situation”.
Minister Mbalula said he SAPS to do everything in their power “within the ambit of the law” to bring about normality and calm at Vanderbijlpark. The Minister has instructed the Police to “clampdown decisively on those thugs” who attacked the SA police officers.
“I need not remind the occupants of the house that our country is still recovering from scars of Xenophobic attacks, we expect everyone in our country to respect our laws, but above all respect our police, whose mandate is to ensure that everyone within the borders of South Africa is safe,” Minister Mbalula added.
“South Africa is not a failed state, it’s a democratic country that has laws, and we expect everyone to respect the laws of the Republic of South Africa. Let’s all await the results of the post mortem, and anyone who’s found guilty must face the might of the law,” the Minster said.
I condemn in the strongest terms what happened in Sedibeng were SAPS officers where attacked. pic.twitter.com/iBfvZCKMU2
— RSA Police Minister (@MbalulaFikile) October 11, 2017