Thursday, March 3, 2011

Police parking punch-up prompts probe

Police parking punch-up prompts probe
2011-03-03 22:18

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Pretoria - The Tshwane metro police's decision on Thursday to have illegally-parked SAPS cars towed resulted in a punch-up between members of the two forces, and has prompted a ministerial investigation.

Two Tshwane metro police tow trucks were sent to move cars parked on the corner of Park and Hamilton streets on Thursday morning, following complaints from the public.

The cars about to be towed belonging to the police's Personal Protection Unit, and their drivers rushed out of their offices.

The two tow-truck drivers called for back-up and large numbers of Tshwane metro police officers descended on the scene.

According to initial reports received by one spokesperson, it was a "Wild West style shoot-out".

Utterly embarrassing

Senior management then descended on the scene to find a fistfight. No shooting had occurred. After calming the scene management held a meeting to resolve the matter.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said: "The ministry will, through an internal departmental enquiry investigate these allegations, because we find such reports not only disturbing, but utterly embarrassing."

The ministry expected police management "to meet in order to pave a way forward, share expertise on how to keep communities safe and... to resolve [disputes over] illegally-parked vehicles".

He said the police could not "allow such comical acts to dampen society's confidence in police", because the country's police forces needed to lead by example.

Tshwane community safety spokesperson William Baloyi said the spat was brought under control.

"The law should be upheld at all times. Illegally-parked cars will be towed, irrespective of who it belongs to."

He said the SAPS and Tshwane metro police had agreed to investigate the "stand-off".


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