The Knysna Municipality has launched an investigation after a traffic officer was caught on camera in a scuffle with a man on crutches
The video, which had been shared 16 000 times by Friday and viewed by almost 500 000 Facebook users, was uploaded on Wednesday after it was filmed on the side of a busy road in the Garden Route town.
In it, the uniformed traffic officer can be seen holding the man by his T-shirt
“Los my uit. Jy het f*kkol maniere nie (Leave me alone, you have f*ck all manners),” the man tells the traffic officer.
The officer claims that the man threatened him and the man asks the traffic officer why he is holding him that way, saying that he would do the same to him.
“Ek gaan jou klere van you afskeer (I am going to tear your clothes off),” the motorist says, as the officer holds him by the front of his T-shirt.
A colleague can then be seen speaking on a cellphone as the motorist grabs the traffic officer by the front of his reflective vest.
“Ek praat baie mooi met jou (I am speaking very nicely to you),” the officer says.
The officer then decides to arrest the motorist and while he does this, the man on the crutches falls over.
“Werk saam asseblief (Co-operate please),” the traffic officer says as his colleague assists him to arrest the man.
A woman, ostensibly the man’s wife, is heard in the background.
“My husband has a heart problem,” she says in Afrikaans.
She says she won’t intervene because “hulle gaan tronk toe” (they are going to jail).
She explains that the man was not carrying his licence and that he had said he would phone someone to bring it to him.
The man, still on the ground, is asked by one of the officials if they can help him up.
“I can get up myself,” he says, his peak cap lying in the road next to him.
He struggles to his feet and the traffic officer picks up his crutches, eventually helping him up.
The woman asks the traffic officer why her husband is being arrested, and he responds that the man had threatened him.
The video goes out of focus and the woman swears and shouts: “Jy kan nie my man so kaal maak nie” (You can’t make my husband so naked).
In a second clip, the officers are seen helping the man to a marked vehicle as people watch from the side of the road.
He falls, and the officer picks him up by the wrist and the front of his pants, half lifting and dragging him towards the van as the crowd shouts in dismay.
Two women, one of them ostensibly his wife, try to intervene before a bystander helps him to his feet.
He tells the officer to stop harassing him, and that he will get into the vehicle himself.
Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies on Friday said what she witnessed in the video was “extremely disconcerting”.
“I am a strong believer in peaceful discussions and am of the opinion that there is no place for violence or foul language in any situation. Having said that, I am also a strong advocate for justice and must therefore allow the investigation to run its course,” she said.
“Once all the facts have been presented and only then, can anybody pass judgement. I am looking forward to a swift and fair investigation into this matter and must remind all that we all remain innocent until proven guilty.
“I ask that the public refrain from laying blame at the feet of either party until all the facts have been investigated. I am happy that this matter is seen in a serious light and is receiving the urgency it deserves.”