Cape Town – A 22-year-old City of Cape Town law enforcement officer is expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, for allegedly fatally shooting a homeless man in the face.
Police spokesperson Colonel André Traut said Rondebosch police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a murder, after a 38-year-old homeless man was shot and killed on Sunday at 10am in Chester Road, Rondebosch.
GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said the law enforcement officer apparently responded to a complaint that homeless people were cooking a meal outdoors, and that a homeless man had been shot in the face.
The City confirmed the incident, and directed all the enquiries to the police.
“The matter is being investigated by the SAPS, and enquiries should be directed to them,” it said in a statement.
The City said it viewed the incident in a very serious light, and would cooperate with the investigation where needed.
“Furthermore, the City will follow the prescribed labour-related laws and policies applicable to this matter,” the statement said.
Herron said “coming hot on the heels of the conviction in November of Morné Horn, a City law- enforcement officer convicted for murdering an undercover police officer in Long Street – and questions put to Police Minister Bheki Cele last week about the legality of the City’s shadowy special investigations unit – the Rondebosch killing re-sounds the alarm about the integrity of the City’s law enforcement efforts”.
He said the Western Cape Safety Plan was underpinned by the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap) that aims to put 1 000 armed learner law enforcement officers on to the streets to “halve the murder rate”.
“These learner law-enforcement officers are deployed after only six weeks’ training compared to a SAPS learner constable, who is deployed after 12 months of academy training, before performing an additional 12 months as a learner constable.
“The City’s firearm training is apparently only three weeks long,” he said.
Herron said they have been unable to verify if the Rondebosch shooter was a learner officer. However, they were told he had been arrested.
“According to information at GOOD’s disposal, City law-enforcement officials responded to a complaint from a resident about a small fire on which members of the regular local homeless community in Rondebosch were cooking a meal.
“The officers instructed the homeless people to extinguish it,” Herron said.
He said there was a scuffle over the dousing of the fire at which point a homeless man was shot in the face, allegedly by a law enforcement officer.
He said the incident raised more disturbing questions about the City’s municipal police service and its conduct.
“The dangerous conditions under which many communities live are made even more dangerous by uniformed but under-trained law enforcement officers,” he said.