Cops grilled over CT removals

Cape Town - An inquiry investigating the removal of people and structures in Lwandle, Cape Town, asked a police operational commander on Tuesday what he could have done differently.

Lt-Col Jimmy Lucas endured a day of tough questions from the Lwandle inquiry, but remained adamant he had done his best on 2 June, the day he was in charge.

"I don't think I would have done anything else other than what I did on that day."

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu set up the inquiry, to probe the removals of 2 June and 3 June.

Lucas said police were called to maintain public order and help the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) effect a court order to remove illegal shack dwellers from its land.

The police had anticipated they would be met with violence but were surprised at how quickly it escalated. Residents were seen throwing petrol bombs at police vehicles.

Inquiry members wanted to know why Lucas "disrespected" local councillor Mbuyiselo Matha, who pleaded with him on 2 June to call off the removals and negotiate around a table.

"You did not co-operate with that councillor... He felt belittled by yourself. We even saw him walk away and crying," inquiry member Mampe Ramotsomai said.

The inquiry wanted to know why he had not asked Matha to speak with residents and calm the situation.

That is a petrol bomb

After watching the relevant video clip, Lucas testified that he spent 10 minutes listening to Matha, while monitoring the nearby angry crowd and deciding on the next move.

The inquiry felt the situation was not as tense as Lucas had suggested.

In reply, Lucas said of a man in the crowd: "That is a petrol bomb. That is not a beer he is drinking, honourable chairperson."

The operational commander for 3 June, Captain Andre de Graaff, did not appear before the inquiry on Tuesday, despite a subpoena.

The inquiry arranged for a postponement earlier in August to allow De Graaff to testify, as he was on leave at the time.

Advocate Ncumisa Mayosi, instructed by the State attorney on behalf of the SA Police Service, said the police intended taking up the matter internally.

"SAPS doesn't have an explanation for why [he is not here] as he is expected to be here by his superiors," she said.

The inquiry was postponed until Thursday for further police testimony.

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Kirsty Prinsloo 2014/08/27 06:37:06 AM
This inquiry is a waste of time and money. No other removals in any other province have inquires. The people did their job as the law requires them to-do.
Wayne McCrae 2014/08/27 06:50:01 AM
Its getting so bad that the SAPS cant even do their jobs because crimanals are so well protected. Its the ANC protecting their vote by letting people do what they want.
Francois Vorster 2014/08/27 07:21:33 AM
It can only be a foul like Sisulu who will set up an inquiry like this – what does she not understand about a court order.
Jamill Ahmed 2014/08/27 07:23:09 AM
Kirsty what if i told you there are over 600000 whites in squater camps across south africa these people both black and white did not ask to be in this situation. .dont believe me google white squater camps south africa one well known squater camp was currently ordered of land they called home called coronation park count your blessings as these people rarely have any to count
Jamill Ahmed 2014/08/27 07:29:18 AM
And if you have the "time" please do go and visit. To see how these poor people have taken their last and build what they call home
Gregory Jaftha 2014/08/27 08:02:11 AM
What a load of hoggwash,just political mumbo jumbo trying to discredit thhe DA in the WC,eastern capers must learn that is the western cape,here we work to buy property,not just shack up on it because its vaccant,that's stealing,theft of property
Andrew MacDonald 2014/08/27 08:03:05 AM
So it went down like this: 1. Sanral obtains court order to remove the community illegally occupying their land. 2. Sanral and the sheriff request help from the police. 3. Community turn violent 4.police ensure eviction while being attacked 5. Sanral, a govt agency, skips away whilt the anc led by this horrible woman sisulu with fake hair goes after the police (another govt dept) in order to try attack the da. What a joke these people are. And by these people I mean the anc leadership.
Moses 2014/08/27 10:21:50 AM
It seems hatred and greed is ruling many people these days, people got no love for our fellow poor brothers, so how can we come over all those opstical we have in our country? Even if you eat more than three times a day remember those who don't have anything to eat and stop making heartles comment its time to think straight,love one another help each other build a better nation not a grieddling nation.
Kirsty Prinsloo 2014/08/27 10:39:03 AM
No one asks or wants to be in a squatter camp. However blaming the people who are doing their job as the law requires is just ridiculous.
Jamill Ahmed 2014/08/27 11:14:09 AM
Kirsty first of all if one has a heart one wouldnt remove those people if i was a cop i would disobey such an order as i have a concious 2ndly those people have been there longer than sanral that overnight owned that land however i will help move them if i was a cop only if they are being shifted to a piece of land free from evictions and where they can go about trying to beta their lives thirdly destroying those peoples little possesions like that is INHUMANE demoralizing some one that has nothing. DONT KICK SOME ONE THEY ARE DOWN NEITHER YOU NOR I WILL KNOW IF WE WILL LAND IN THAT SCENARIO