A Right2Know member has opened a case of assault after allegedly being slapped and manhandled by members of the police’s VIP protection unit, GroundUp reported.
Murray Hunter was placing one of the organisation’s “Stop SABC Censorship” campaign stickers on the bumper of a white, unmarked police car after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening.
Throughout the day, he and a few other people, had been going around Cape Town noting a number of unmarked police cars and increased VIP protection officers in the city for SONA.
“At around 11pm, I was making my way home. I stopped behind one of the unmarked police cars at a red light on the corners of Sir Lowry and Tennent Streets. And, in an act of protest, I stuck the sticker on the police car,” he says.
Five men in plain clothing, apparently members of the police’s VIP protection unit, jumped out of an SUV behind him.
“They surrounded me and were yelling at me. They went through my bag and tore up all the remaining stickers. They wouldn’t tell me who was in charge. It became clear that they weren’t going to arrest me; they were just there to intimidate me. That’s when one of them slapped me with his open hand, knocking my glasses off,” says Hunter.
In a bid to defuse the situation, Hunter says, he admitted to the officers that his actions were wrong, but they continued to shout at him.
“I told them that this was assault and that they couldn’t do this. That’s when the officer hit me again.”
The officers forced him to remove the sticker from the police car before they sped off.
“I wasn’t able to get a licence plate number. With the reputation of the police protection unit, I think I got off pretty lightly. I stand by my act, because it was a political statement. Whether they should’ve arrested me for it is a whole other conversation, but they didn’t.”
Hunter opened a case of assault at Cape Town central police station.
“We will continue our fight against the securitisation of Parliament,” says Hunter.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said he could not comment as the matter was under investigation.