Mhambi has been redeployed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Police raids in Stellenbosch and Johannesburg

I just got a message from Adriaan Pelzer of the band Nul on Facebook. Apparently this weekend the police violently raided three music venues.

In one incident Afrikaans folk singer Bacshus Nel's equipment was 'confiscated' at the Bohemian in Johannesburg, where a protesting band supporter was allegedly called a "white pig" by Metro police.

I just messaged Lizelle Smit who attended the gig, she said it was "...soos in die 90's. Kon dit nie glo nie." Like in the 90's I could not believe it.

According to Smit the incident was relatively calm until the police took Bacchus Nel - who is blind - instruments. The crowd reacted in protest.

But the incident was not nearly as violent as what transpired in Stellenbosch.

In the Bohemia in Stellenbosch police raided military style. You can watch for yourself what transpired. One cop can be seen firing a shotgun wildly into the air, apparently oblivious that the bar has an upstairs area.

It was captured on the venue's CCTV cameras.

There was also a raid on the Mystic Boer where a video is available but we are still trying to get hold of a video of that.

There is a Facebook group about these incidents of police brutality.

Also read a Beeld report about one of the incidents.

Update Nel has got all his equipment back.

This video was made by Cape Town based Afrikaans paper Die Burger and contains allegations of police assault on the student bar patrons. And of police confiscating mobile cameras when students took pictures of the police to identify them.

And The Independent reports that The Springbok bar was also raided.

One student, who asked to remain anonymous, had a blue eye and several bruises on his face, after being kicked four times in the face, allegedly by a police officer, after he and his friends were ordered to lie on the ground in the pool room in Die Mystic Boer.

"They told us to stop drinking and smoking. My friend lit up a cigarette and they slapped him in the face. I yelled: "Dude, what the f**k are you doing to my friend? That's when they hit me and kicked me four times in the face. Then they sprayed mace or pepper spray in my eyes." Niel Bekker, a journalism graduate and son of Koos Bekker, the chief executive of Naspers, said he saw a man from the Netherlands who had been invited to speak at the Woordfees and his Belgian friend confront the police.

The Belgian man and his girlfriend, who tried to intervene, were knocked against a wall.

He also saw how a girl, who was having an asthma attack and who tried to use her phone, was hit with a baton. Stefan Sessa, the marketing manager at Cia Media, also at Die Mystic Boer, said police hit him and threw him to the ground. Johan Blom, who was at Springbok Pub with his friends, said a police officer shouted at everyone to "put away your f**king phones" and when he asked her why she was swearing at him, he had pepper spray sprayed into his eyes.

"I had to rely on my friend to lead me home, because I was blinded." Bevan Williams, who was also in the Springbok Pub, said his doctor confirmed his eardrum had ruptured when a police officer hit him after he tried to take a picture of him.


While the investigation into the controversial police raids on mainly student night spots in Stellenbosch at the weekend was handed over to the Independent Complaints Directorate on Tuesday, the news of two European writers caught up in the raids raised international attention.

Acclaimed author Breyten Breytenbach, in an open letter in Die Burger on Tuesday, apologised to the two authors for how "our pigs in bulletproof vests" treated them.

Flemish poet Dirk van Bastelaere and Dutch author Tommy Wieringa, speakers at the annual Woordfees cultural festival, were among those allegedly manhandled.


Mhambi reckons this was an example of standard SAPS behaviour and not that far removed from the 'ordinary' police raid on a shebeen in the townships. But white middelclass kids ain't use to this kind of thing.

It does not make it right of course.


The incident's Facebook group has been mobilizing students to file complaints.

"Guys and girls, PLEASE leave the race issue out of this!!! There were white, black, coloured cops and costomers/students involved!!!!!! This is not a racial thing, its a human rights issue. Its not black vs white, its police vs public! PLEASE focus on the topic.

Please come into Bohemia or Mystics and give them your account of what happened or yoo can follow these steps:

First thing would be for the guys to open criminal cases.

If you were hit or kicked - Assault
Pepper Sprayed - Assault GBH
Woman searched by males - Indecent Assault
Phone damaged - Malicious Injury to Property

If you were assaulted first go to the nearest police station and get a J88, it's a form that a doctor needs to complete in order to note the injuries that you sustained. This is very important as it can also be used in any future civil claims.

After that type out your statement and go open your case at the police station.

Lodge a formal complaint with the Independant Complaints Directorate (

Getting charged with Assault is nothing for a policeman. Having the ICD all over your ass, is hell."

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1 comment:

Mike said...

I must say I took radio reports of the incidents with a pinch of salt, but the video material look at times as if belonging in a Hollywood police series. The gungho manner in which the police officers conducted themselves is very worrying. It's one thing to be bold in going after criminals - but quite another to disrespect citizens so blatantly and forcefully. What the hell, firing a shotgun in the air in a crowded establishment! Spraying pepper spray into someone's face as if it is the most natural thing in the world. This is BAD BAD BAD.