KwaZulu-Natal police are investigating a murder case after an informal trader was killed in a scuffle between a shop owner and officers at an informal settlement, south of Durban.
Residents of the Dakota informal settlement in Isipingo are claiming that an Ethiopian national, Adane Emmanuel, was attacked by police who patrolled the area on Wednesday.
Emmanuel succumbed to his injuries in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The police’s Vish Naidoo said it was community members who first attacked the police.
“Our members were conducting patrols to ensure that the regulations for the Disaster Management Act were being complied with by the community of that area. While they were there, the community mobilised, an altercation broke out against the members and resulted in a man being injured and subsequently died.”
Witnesses said a local man is also recovering in hospital after he was injured.
Eyewitness News has seen video footage captured by a resident, showing a vehicle – with police branding on it – parked next to a local tuckshop.
A woman in the area said police attempted to break the shop’s burglar bars.
“When we tried to talk to them and ask ‘why are you breaking those burglar bars’, they started to shoot us [with] rubber bullets.”
She said the incident has jeopardized the trust relationship between the police and the public.
“Police are supposed to protect us, not kill us. I know that because it’s a foreign national they will not take this seriously, but they need to investigate because they are also part of our people.”
A few incidents, where police are accused of being heavy-handed, are being investigated around the country.
Naidoo says the community mobilized against the community resulting in Emanuel being injured. Witnesses say a local man is recovering in hospital after he was injured in the scuffle. This woman says the police attempted the break the shop’s burglar bars. @NkoRaphael pic.twitter.com/SYGPpvZefB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 3, 2020