The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) announced that it has launched an investigation into alleged abuse and harassment committed by two of its officers after a video clip of the incident spread across social media.
In the video, a passerby that tries to intervene and records JMPD officers who were allegedly trying to stop a vendor from selling her wares in a Johannesburg suburb.
JMPD LAUNCH INVESTIGATION
The video clip was posted to Facebook on Sunday, 20 June, along with a statement that alleges that JMPD officers abused and harassed a member of public that was selling her goods on the side of the road.
“It is further alleged by the complainant that the officers tried to solicit a bribe from the vendor for selling goods on the side of the road without permission to do so,” said JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla in a statement.
The matter was brought to JMPD management attention and Fihla said the department’s Internal Affairs Unit is on the case and a preliminary investigation is underway.
WATCH: MEMBERS ALLEGEDLY HARRASSING VENDOR
In the video, the two officers and the vendor are involved in a struggle at the JMPD vehicle door. She can be heard pleading with the officers to not take her goods. The vendor told the officers that she’s unemployed and has six children to take care of.
The passerby who records the video asks officers what is going on and accuses them of abusing the vendor. “Listen guys, the lady is trying to make a living. Do you not have a heart,” he asks the JMPD officers at one point.
The actions of the JMPD officers were widely criticised as the video spread across social media. Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo responded by saying that “understanding the need to enforce by-laws and its importance, we must also invest in supporting the people make a living in a legal and responsible manner.”
“Support and comply to operate freely. I have asked EconDev to look into this,” added Makhubo. “We must legalize the poor to earn a living.”