Muizenberg SAPS guilty of misconduct, says ombud

Johan Brand found there was wrongdoing on the part of the police.

The Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) has found there was wrongdoing by Muizenberg police following his probe into allegations of misconduct by them during the national lockdown, but more than that he’s not saying.

Deidre Foster, spokesperson for the WCPO, said Johan Brand found there was wrongdoing on the part of the police, but his office was obliged to keep the report confidential in terms of Section 14(2) of the Western Cape Community Safety Act 3 of 2013.

For that reason, she said, the information he acquired during the course of the investigation could not be made public.

Mr Brand has suggested that his findings be sent to the office of the provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, to take appropriate steps.

Muizenberg police station commander Colonel Vassi Naidoo, said he was aware of the investigation and that it had been concluded along with all the cases relating to the Disaster Management Act Regulations.

Colonel Naidoo has since been temporarily moved to the provincial office.

He said the transfer was due to an internal inquiry unrelated to the ombudsman’s investigation.

“I think it is a witch hunt against me, but the inquiry must continue so I can prove my innocence and return to Muizenberg,” he said.

There were no criminal or departmental cases against him, and he had lodged his response with regards to the inquiry with the provincial office, he said.

“I have done nothing wrong, and I have the backing and the trust of the community,” he said.

The investigation by the ombudsman came about after Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, wrote to the office of the WCPO in May following allegations by several Muizenberg residents and after allegations surfaced that a senior police officer from Muizenberg SAPS had allegedly threatened an elderly woman and a pregnant woman during lockdown.

Muizenberg resident Liam Bulgen, was one of the complainants.

He was detained on May 4 with his fiancée, Tereza Cervinkova, and young daughter, Florence, for allegedly contravening the Disaster Management Act Regulations after his daughter ran onto the beach during lockdown level 4.

At the time, all beaches were closed to the public, (“Shock after beach arrest,” Echo May 14).

Charges against the couple were dropped in June after their lawyer made representations to the state prosecutor.

But, according to Mr Bulgen, the damage had been done.

The incident traumatised the couple, and Ms Cervinkova has since returned to the Czech Republic with Florence.

Mr Bulgen declined to comment about the latest developments.