City withdraws JMPD from #FeesMustFall protests
The City of Johannesburg has withdrawn the assistance provided by members of Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) to the South African Police Service (SAPS) during student protests.
In a statement read out by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Dr Rabelani Dagada during the City’s monthly council meeting on Tuesday September 27, the DA caucus said it had resolved to amend the recommendations and guidelines of the SAPS Act and that JMPD must remain outside university campuses at all times and only focus on crime prevention and by-law enforcement.
“JMPD [officers] will remain outside campuses and be very cautious in conducting their duties. However, they will still focus on crime prevention and enforcement of by-laws,” Cllr Dagada said.
This followed a motion raised by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Councillor D Mabunda, who had asked for a debate on “a matter of urgent public importance” in terms of Rule 98 (1) of the Standing Rules and Orders of Council.
Cllr Mabunda said the EFF fully supported protests by students and their demands for free education as enshrined in the Constitution and the Freedom Charter. He said the call for free quality education was a legitimate demand.
“Many of the protests within the City of Johannesburg and throughout the country are peaceful until the police and other security forces contaminate [them].
“We are very concerned about the conduct of police officers when monitoring protests, in particular the #FeesMustFall protests. We have observed the full might of police deployment at Wits University that included JMPD and other private security forces.
“We therefore recommend that the council note that the #FeesMustFall protest is a legitimate one. The City withdraws JMPD from involving themselves on issues that were messed up by the national government.
“The use of force against peaceful student protesters by JMPD must be discouraged. Where possible, JMPD must use barbed wire and water cannon to control the crowd and protect property,” he said.
Cllr Mabunda introduced to the council a Wits University student, Sitholephi Makhanya, who was injured in the leg after being allegedly attacked by JMPD officers.
It was at this point that DA councillors went to caucus. After 15 minutes, they returned to announce that the council would withdraw JMPD officers from student protests, remain outside campuses and focus on enforcing by-laws.
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