IRR: Blue light assault symptomatic of civil liberties under threat

Jul 04, 2023
The IRR condemns the recent incident involving a motorist assaulted by what appear to be members of the police's VIP protection unit. This disturbing event, captured on video and widely circulated on social media, is indicative of a state that has lost sight of its constitutional and moral obligations.
IRR: Blue light assault symptomatic of civil liberties under threat

The IRR condemns the recent incident involving a motorist assaulted by what appear to be members of the police's VIP protection unit. This disturbing event, captured on video and widely circulated on social media, is indicative of a state that has lost sight of its constitutional and moral obligations.

Regrettably, such displays of irrational state violence are not surprising to many South Africans. The country has witnessed, with minimal accountability, the tragic deaths of hundreds of individuals in police custody, as well as killings in public such as those of Collins Khosa and Petrus Miggels, both victims of state violence for minor breaches of Covid-19 restrictions. Other victims of fatal police brutality in recent years – whose names are less well known - include Adane Emmanuel, Robyn Montsumi, and Ntando Sigasa.

These incidents starkly contradict Nelson Mandela's assertion that "no form of violence can ever be excused in a society that wishes to call itself decent" in the denary of his death. The IRR echoes this sentiment, welcomes the police’s investigation into the incident, and calls for for those responsible to be held to account.

Such abuses serve as a reminder of the importance of defending South Africa's civil liberties. Where they are threatened, as in yesterday’s incident, it evokes chilling echoes of our country's dark past.

The IRR will release a comprehensive civil liberties paper tomorrow, 5 July. This report, grounded in extensive research and analysis, reviews the government’s performance on civil liberty since 1994 and includes recommendations on how it could be better prioritised and protected in future.

Says Hermann Pretorius, IRR Head of Strategic Communications: "A harmonious, free, non-racial, and prosperous South Africa is possible. But this can only be achieved when the government respects and upholds the rights and freedoms of its citizens. For this to happen, South Africans must engage with the substance of what has gone wrong. Incidents like yesterday’s blue light assault are symptomatic of an arrogant state that has been indulged with ever more power at the expense of the individual freedom and, ultimately, human dignity."

To attend the online launch of the IRR’s civil liberties report on 5 July, click here

Media contact: Hermann Pretorius, IRR Head of Strategic Communications Tel: 079 875 4290 Email: hermann@irr.org.za

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

Sinalo Thuku, Tel: 073 932 8506 Email: sinalo@irr.org.za

 

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