Case dismissed on behalf of Shaka ‘s Rock lockout beachgoers.
Charges against a group of Shaka ‘s Rock residents who were detained on their way to the beach during Level 5 of the lockdown have been withdrawn. Civil rights organisation AfriForum announced on Monday that it had been informed of the decision to dismiss the charges against eight residents.
“The National Prosecutor’s Office (NPA) has told the private prosecution unit of AfriForum in writing that it has officially agreed to dismiss eight complaints against persons detained in Ballito during level 5 of the lock-up for the so-called violation of the Disaster Management Act. This unit addressed the NPA’s representation as to why these people should not be prosecuted, “it said.
AfriForum’s private prosecution unit reported in May that they will be involved in an incident in which two peace officers from the KwaDukuz municipality in Ballito allegedly manhandled a four-year-old boy against his father’s will and also arrested eight people because they were on the beach.
A video of the incident provoked national outrage, which was viral on social media. It showed two KwaDukuza traffic officers trying to escort a four-year-old boy out of a gated complex in the lush seaside town of Shaka’s Rock, on the north coast of KZN.
When the child’s father discovered what was going on, he tried to stop the police, resulting in a tug-of-war between the 35-year-old father and the officers.
TimesLIVE has previously reported that on May 10, a handful of Shaka Rock residents were arrested for breaching the lock-down regulations after visiting the beach on Mother’s Day morning. Soon after the video was made viral, the KwaDukuz Municipality conducted an internal investigation and subsequently cleared the misconduct officers.
AfriForum said on Monday that the NPA had ordered the accused to appear before the court on 10 August, which was a public holiday, and then stated that the cases would be referred back to the police for further investigation.
The prosecutor suggested on October 21 that the NPA would “let the case go.”
“AfriForum supports the decision of the NPA to dismiss the complaints, but firmly believes that the complaints against these individuals should never have been filed, and also that the conduct of the law enforcement authorities in this case was arbitrary and excessive,” said AfriForum campaign manager Natasha Venter.
“Most members of the public, particularly during level 5 of the lockout, have tried to make sense of ambiguous rules, which have sometimes changed and have often been unreasonable. It would have been preposterous to prosecute these people only because they were walking on the beach and, additionally, to threaten them with criminal records.
Natasha Kara, NPA spokesperson for KZN, did not respond to the queries at the time of publication.