The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) announced that it had opened an investigation into allegations of abuse and harassment by two of its officers after a video clip of the incident spread across social networks.
In the video, a passerby attempts to intervene and records JMPD agents allegedly trying to prevent a saleswoman from selling her wares in a Johannesburg suburb.
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The video clip was posted to Facebook on Sunday, June 20, along with a statement alleging that JMPD agents abused and harassed a member of the public who was selling his wares by the side of the road.
“The complainant further alleges that the officers attempted to solicit a bribe from the seller for selling goods by the side of the road without permission to do so,” said JMPD spokesman Xolani Fihla. in one declaration.
The case was brought to the attention of the JMPD leadership and Fihla said the department’s internal affairs unit was on the case and a preliminary investigation was underway.
WATCH: MEMBERS HARASS THE SELLER
In the video, the two agents and the salesman are involved in a fight at the door of the JMPD vehicle. He can be heard begging the officers not to take his property. The saleswoman told officers that she is unemployed and needs to care for six children.
The passerby who records the video asks the agents what is going on and accuses them of having abused the salesman. “Listen guys, the lady is trying to make a living. You don’t have a heart, ”he asks JMPD officers at one point.
The actions of JMPD officers have been widely criticized as the video spread on social media. Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo responded by saying that “understanding the need to enforce regulations and their importance, we also need to invest in helping people earn a living legally and responsibly.”
“Support and conform to operate freely. I asked EconDev to review this, ”Makhubo added. “We have to legalize the poor to earn a living. “
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