Apartheid aggression lingers on as police, army brutalise blacks

The great irony in the current health crisis humanity faces is that black people are again victims of the legacy of brutality.

2020-04-09 08:30:00 AM

The SAPS and SANDF reserve brutality for black offenders, and courtesy for white offenders of the lockdown. The level of brutality reveals an army and police force that is still fundamentally untransformed 26 years into democracy, writes Mzukisi Makatse

The great irony in the current health crisis humanity faces is that black people are again victims of the legacy of brutality.

The country is now on what is popularly known as lockdown in an attempt by government to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.As necessary as this desperate measure is, it has also exposed the deep-seated deficiency in our country’s armed forces – the persisting legacy of apartheid brutality, 26 years into our constitutional democracy.

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If our country bears the imprints of its apartheid past, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and SA Police Service (SAPS) have become a shining example in this regard.They have illuminated this legacy with aplomb. The great irony in the current health crisis humanity faces is that black people are again the victims of this legacy of brutality.

What is even more concerning, as a paradox, is that Covid-19 was brought into the country by the privileged white elite that had travelled abroad to risky countries and returned without declaring where they had been.Read:Covid-19 lockdown: Be a force of kindness not of might, Ramaphosa tells SANDF

They came through our international airports and travelled to different destinations across the country, while mingling with other people and thus putting all our lives in danger.The SANDF and police have been deployed to enforce the lockdown in terms of the regulations announced by government.

The constant refrain from our officialdom whenever the army is deployed is that the force is not like the police, they ‘skop and donner’.This translated to me that, whenever the army is deployed, they have a licence to brutalise black people.A member of the SANDF is seen giving residents of Alexandra pamphlets which provide more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

This approach has become their modus operandi in the townships and elsewhere where black people live.Black people are kicked around, punched, whipped and made to perform some of the most degrading and dehumanising acts.Our townships are slowly resembling those of the state of emergency declared by PW Botha in the 1985.

Black people have now become the scapegoat in rising anger about the virus.Interestingly, if tragically, our army and police treat white people with the greatest respect whenever they contravene these regulations.We have seen some white people go surfing, walking their dogs and jogging.

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Instead of being kicked around, punched, whipped or made to do dehumanising acts by the armed forces, they have been treated with dignity, nicely told to go to their places of abode or respectfully ushered into police vans as they get arrested.To illustrate this point, a black man was reported to have been severely beaten and pepper-sprayed by the police in Cape Town.

He later collapsed and died after telling his family what the police had done to him.He was a good man who had lost his job just a few years before and had been sent to buy alcohol by a neighbour.This was in violation of the regulations issued by the government, but it was no different from those who went surfing or jogging, or walked their dogs.

But here the police reserved brutality for a black offender, and courtesy for white offenders.This level of brutality meted out to black people by the SANDF and SAPS reveals an army and police force that is still fundamentally untransformed 26 years into democracy.

Lockdown enforcement in Alexandra to curb the spread of Covid-19. Picture: Tebogo LetsieThe fact that these armed forces are a creation of the Constitution is only academic.Their make-up, outlook and modus operandi still exude the apartheid approach of brutality.

They feel that they have the support from the top echelons of government to behave as they do.Accordingly, the racialised brutality by our armed forces is also a symptom of a system that is born of structural economic inequalities in our country.The many black people who are economically distressed become easy prey to the SANDF and SAPS because they have no means to challenge in our courts the violence meted out to them.

They live in congested squalor and, because of that condition, they are easily treated as the scum of the earth who must be brutalised at will by the army and police.People look on as the army deployed soldiers to help the police enforce the lockdown in Alexander. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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The general thrust of the measures outlined by the government in fighting Covid-19 is worthy of support, although there are some limitations to them.Being in uncharted waters, such limitations are understandable and will hopefully be corrected in due course.

However, the fundamental abuse of black people’s rights by some SANDF and SAPS zealots in their enthusiastic enforcement of these measures is in itself a violation of those measures and totally unacceptable.It is a dereliction of their responsibilities as prescribed in the Con

stitution, and deserves unbridled condemnation.Makatse is an attorney and director of Makatse AttorneysTALK TO USHave you been confronted by the police or army while out during the lockdown.What was your experience?SMS us on 35697 using the 

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Heads should roll for the brutal killing of the peaceful Ethiopian man in KZN for alledgedly selling cigarettes. But we all know they will protect their own. Queen_Tsholo8 what do you suggest must happen/be done, for our people to obey in order to fight Corona? shandu009 The poor in particular.. Apartheid Group Areas Act back in full force. Anybody found without a dompas is beaten to death.

shandu009 You are so full of sh!t. This level of reporting and sensationalism is just pure amateurish...thanks for being part of the solution....NOT! Nonsense you are at the best platform to encourage people to stay home but instead you are criticizing the duties of SANDF, what does stay at home means to you. This is not the time to be negative as you are all about. Be the builder not the destroyer

Hloksie7 The army and the police must come hard on those who break the law. Why is it mostly whites who are up in arms? They seem to be far removed from communities from which they come, everyone knows that people need more education about this virus not skop n donner. Can't even pronounce it properly.

VijayShadean And who heads up these two national forces...? Wow ! That’s a racist take ! khasu_k You crown a clown president and you all expect him to act any different?please... I will be on the side of white people but honestly speaking they are obeying the rules and regulations of lockdown our fellow blacks are being ignorant about this whole lockdown to them it's just business as normal

The army is transformed in respect to the black faces now in its ranks. But it's fundamental objectives and ethos have not transformed. You have apartheid and bantustan as generals still, master and a boy of apartheid SA. Boy made a master and still continuing his inferiority. How many privates are white and black?

Amen They're carrying big guns for what,shooting defenceless citizens? But the soldiers and police brutalizing blacks are black too. What “transformation “ is the writer talking about? The bad news is black people racially abuse black I can’t believe how useless black people are once given POWER Apartheid or New South Africa same skop and donnor

This is a tough and painfully emotional discussion that needs to be had in order for the nation to heal. What has Apartheid MYANC done in 26 yrs? Free tertiary education? Ended all Pit latrines? End to all shacks? Life Esidimeni? Marikana? _AMCU afriforum ProtestZa Richard_Spoor GregMarinovich IvoVegter jikat DuncanJane EndTheLockdown EconomicSuicide CovidHysteria

MYANC took over where the apartheid govt left off, this was evident in their response to Marikana which was directed by the same CyrilRamaphosa. Where miners were charged using apartheid laws MYANC conveniently forgot to repeal. The permits to move around are dom passes. Irresponsible title Mzukisi Makatse, apartheid was certainly inhumane, but let's not associate & blame apartheid for the current unruly & unwarranted behavior.

What is the problem with Black policemen and soldiers that they show little respect for their fellow Black people? DebbieBloodmoon sjoya : Check this out Just look behind the soldiers.... DebbieBloodmoon It's black on black brutality because most of those soldiers are not even white like in the apartheid days. We degrade each other like that

zwidenyapT In this country if u are black and poor you are in Trouble...... I still see rich black & whites jogging in my neighborhood but I yesterday I came across police pushing around a beggar on the very same street True Black people get beat without even being asked a single question they just beat you you could be going to buy food they don't care while whites get treated as kings and queens we see it on the ground only black neighborhoods are getting army visits

Wats worse is that its black military doing it to black citizens Most of those soldier's are born in 1990's knows nothing about apartheid. Stay home From apartheid terrorism to state capture terrorism I witnessed some frm the inside of my home & was threatened not to watch & further quarantine...imagine, no sense at all. All this to the amusement of a black saps colleague in dumbfounded shock.

If u go to townships, people are playing on street. Not only children, including older people. They dont want to stay home, go to surbub, is different people there are complying. People in township's they bealive this is not for them. We can't blame soldier's Thanks for calling a spade a spade!!!! Choosing this photo to go with this article was a mistake.

Simple truth is if we all listened and obeyed the rules then we wouldn’t need army to be so hard with people. Bullshit.spreading fake news and cause issues here! Mr minister of Police your men and women in uniform are doing a little just give them sjambok to deal with unruly elements especially amongst africans

I dont think its true. We have about 70% of blacks in sa , and around 10% whites , obviously we expect few people from big groups to misbehave compared to 10% whites. 1/... Nope. Soldiers on the ground were either unborn oe 5 yrs old in 1994. The SANDF has since completely transformed. So trying to link current baviour to apartheid seems like a desperate attempt to find an excuse in an external factor. What you se is universal, not unique.

Wow, at a time like this, you choose to stir the pot? Perhaps people need to listen and stop doing whatever the hell they want. Ummm he is wrong, my people are stubborn and deserve that it Rubbish, I don’t believe this has anything to do with race but rather as to who is listening and who is not listening!

.... once your freedom is taken it is never given back It’s no better with black and white People towards each other so why would it be any different in the Police or Military. COVID coronavirus cyrilramaphosa COVID19 Strokes. Folks.

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