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Policing through violence in SA's lockdown: Citizen rights vs police responsibilities

The College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will host a public webinar on the topic of Policing through violence in South Africa's lockdown: Citizen rights vs police responsibilities on Wednesday, 12 August from 3pm to 5pm. The webinar forms part of the college’s Transformation and Leadership Lecture Series.

The webinar features Major-General Dimakatso Ellen Ndaba (SAPS Visible Policing), Major-General Charity Nonhlanhla Zulu (SAPS Operational Response Services), Professor Sadhana Manik (UKZN), Dr Bronwynne Anderson (UKZN) and will be chaired by Professor Nirmala Gopal (UKZN).

Representatives from the South African Police Services (SAPS) will be discussing the role of SAPS during the lockdown and COVID-19 and the subsequent misconceptions about its members' behaviour/practices during and post COVID-19.

Manik will be discussing black immigrant entrepreneurs who are owners of spaza shops and their experiences with the SAPS pre-COVID-19 and during COVID-19. She will also present some imaginations on the future for immigrant entrepreneurs in SA, and will be drawing from a chapter she wrote for an international book publication, which is in press currently. The chapter is titled: ‘Unwanted but needed’ in South Africa: Post pandemic imaginations on Black immigrant entrepreneurs owning ‘spaza shops’.

She argues that "there is an unwavering alienation and separation of foreigners from SA citizens in a multitude of ways oblivious to, and disregarding of, immigrants’ human rights. It is evident that the risk lens taken by government to keep prospective migrants out, extends to immigrants who are already resident within its borders and this sets the tone for a sustained anti-immigrant stance from politicians and government structures, such as the police, filtering all the way down to communities."

Manik will discuss Afrophobia and xenophobia in addition to the following discourses: ‘The immigrant entrepreneur as a criminal’ as well as ‘the immigrant succumbing to fear’.

Anderson will be focusing on gender-based violence (GBV) and policing: during and post COVID-19. "The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation of female victims of GBV. What is more disconcerting is that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and police are actively monitoring people in terms of wearing of masks, curfews and social distancing among other regulations of lockdown and COVID-19. What measures are in place to ensure the protection of victims of GBV? Before COVID-19, South Africa has been experiencing extremely high rates of GBV, including murder of young women and children," argues Anderson.

Her suggestions are that SAPS should remain sensitive to and increase reporting, and female police (women) should be assigned to these cases. "The victims also need to feel that they are being taken seriously and this means that the perpetrators are ‘brought to book’, charged and incarcerated if this scourge is to be reduced. Victims of GBV should be able to report cases in private and not in the charge offices amid the gaze of other people."

Anderson notes in many cases, with particular reference to intimate partner violence (IPV), many women have to return to their homes with no protection and this is often met with dire consequences. "With more effective policing (due to GBV arising from structural inequalities), much more can be done to reduce the scourge of GBV," she said.

For more information, please contact

Major-General Dimakatso Ellen Ndaba
[email protected]

Major-General Charity Nonhlanhla Zulu
[email protected]

Dr Bronwynne Anderson
[email protected]
084 511 5479

Professor Sadhana Manik
[email protected]
083 650 5975

Professor Nirmala Gopal
[email protected]
083 792 2957

Editorial contacts
Nkosinathi Bhekani Dlamini [email protected]