KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza, has condemned an incident in which two teenage boys were allegedly assaulted severely by an eThekwini Metro Police officer, after accusing them of stealing from his house in Savanna Park, Durban.
It is alleged that the metro police officer pointed his service pistol at the boys and forced them to admit that they had broken into his home on Saturday, before forcing them to drink petrol.
The boys, aged 13 and 16 who are special needs children, are learners at Ningizimu Special School. The boys sustained injuries and one of them had to be rushed to hospital to receive medical treatment.
“We are alarmed and quite frankly‚ disgusted by this incident,” Khoza said.
“It is very shocking that an officer of the law will point a firearm at children and force them to admit to have broken into his home. We will not tolerate any form of behaviour that threatens the safety and wellbeing of children. It also worsens the situation that nothing was found from these vulnerable children. We are really taken aback by these allegations involving police officers who are supposed to be custodians of the law,” she said.
Khoza said no one had a right to abuse children. She vowed to ensure that justice was done.
“No police officer has a right to take the law into their own hands. How does a person get the audacity to point a firearm at children and force them to drink petrol. We will be engaging with the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda and MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Mrs Peggy Nkonyeni, to ensure that these allegations are investigated,” she added.
She said the alleged violation of children’s rights flew in the face of efforts of the government to protect children and all vulnerable groups.
“We hope the law will take its course and rid the rogue officers,” she said.
The Department said it understood that no formal criminal charges had yet been laid against the metro police officer. However, police management had indicated that it would assist the victims’ parents to lay charges.
Khoza said she had dispatched a team of social workers to meet with the families of the victims and provide them with psychosocial support.
Metro Police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad referred questions to eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. The mayor’s spokesperson had not responded to questions at the time of publication.