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Keetmans community denounces police brutality

2023-01-30  Steven Klukowski

Keetmans community denounces police brutality

KEETMANSHOOP – Landless Peoples’ Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi last week blasted the Special Reserve Force, labelling it an “imminent machine of state-led terror against innocent persons across the country”. 

He said this last week while addressing the community at a meeting convened in solidarity with the recent killing of Elleste ‘Speedy’ Plaatjie at the hands of Special Reserve Force (SRF) members in the town. 

“This SFR is not special in any way for the country, nor do they reserve peace in communities, but they rather reserve hate and terror – being funded with taxpayers’ money,” said Swartbooi.

“Remember, it only takes one tyre to ignite another one to burn, which can lead to 10 tyres burning in the end. These actions can start in Krönlein, but they can spread further to Tseiblaagte, Westdene and Noordhoek suburbs.” 

He added these SRF members are functioning with no rules – and if there are rules, they conform to them differently. 

“When the police have to investigate and resolve cases affecting the livelihood of the community, they have no capacity – but they do, however, have full capacity to affect harm and injury to innocent civilians recklessly and at will,” the party president said.

However, he admitted there are good police officers within the law enforcement agency, which LPM respects.

Swartbooi said his party condemns the killing of a boy who did not deserve to die.

He then assured the family the entire community will be their strength and in empathy share the pain they are going through. 

“This is a story that will make us use all our energy and power to ensure justice will prevail for those who do evil things like this every time and get away with it.” 

Swartbooi continued that the party will soon take the matter to be debated in the National Assembly regarding the Namibian Police Force.

Also speaking during the event, a tearful Melody Swartbooi, activist and chairperson of the LPM Youth Wing, said she too, through a traumatic ordeal, became a victim of police brutality. 

“After I released a press statement condemning Elestee’s killing, I was approached, assaulted and cuffed by two police officers, who apprehended me the same night,” she narrated.

She said one officer told her: “You, who made a statement, making sure our colleagues were arrested, let me show you how it feels to be arrested”. 

Melody has since registered a case against the police.

Father of the victim Norman Plaatjie expressed his appreciation towards the community for standing up in solidarity against the senseless killing of their son. 

“If he was, as alleged, nabbed with cannabis, why don’t the police come forward with it as part of their evidence,” he wanted to know.


2023-01-30  Steven Klukowski

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