By Lindokuhle Frank
The rising severity of police violence towards students in South Africa is extremely concerning. The abuse of power displayed by the South African Police services has become an issue mainly because they are meant to keep people safe in times of crises.
In the late hours of 11 June 2021, an Instagram video went viral on all social media platforms of several police officers manhandling two female carjacking victims from a police station in Motherwell, Gqeberha. This video sparked anger from social media users all over the country, especially because the two women were there to report a crime but were further violated.
The Nelson Mandela University students were hijacked at gunpoint and their wallets taken in Motherwell, whilst on their way home to Summerstrand. They were taken to the police station to open a case, but they were further violated by police officers. In the video, police ask the two complainants to leave the police station, there was commotion before the doors were closed in their faces.
This type of treatment from police officers towards students is not something new in the country. Earlier in the year on 10 March, Mthokozisi Ntumba fell victim to police brutality during a student protest in Braamfontein. He was an innocent bystander that was caught in the crossfire between police officers and students. He was unfortunately lost his life after being shot at.
Student protests in South Africa have been characterized by outbursts of police brutality, the reoccurring ill treatment of students by south African police officers during student protests has somewhat become a norm. Student protesters often go up against heavily armed police officers leading to tragic outcomes. The complexity of student protests and police brutality calls for a new approach in dealing with consequences.
Police officers cannot disregard law or basic human rights, young or old, everyone has the right to open a case and be treated well.