These were the words allegedly shouted out by a Verulam SAPS police officer to a Phoenix protester during a violent outbreak outside Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, at the dawn of Women’s Month.
Those words were followed by, “Take that b*h and fk off,’ allegedly shouted out by the police officer after a blind teen girl was pepper-sprayed in the unfortunate and violent series of unfortunate events that unfolded that afternoon.
Speaking to the Verulam & Tongaat Tabloid, Westham resident and stroke patient, Shereen Pillay (44), sustained various injuries following the clash with police and has slammed the behaviour thereof, calling police intervention at the protest ‘barbaric and pathetic against women.’
“I was on a crutch outside the court house together with the other protesters. Since my stroke, I rely on my crutch for balance. There was a clash between the men
who supported the #JusticeForDonovan campaign and the family of the accused. We women were standing nearby as the scuffle broke out. Suddenly police intervened. They were virtually throwing people around and didn’t care who they grabbed at. We were shouting for them to handle the matter properly and not be so violent. I was one of the women who was roughly manhandled and pushed to the ground even though they could see I had a crutch. I could not believe that the police behaved in such a terrible and disgusting manner,” Pillay said.
According to Pillay, the rampant violence from police continued and resulted in her sister-in-law being pushed and shoved to the ground whilst a police officer attempted to pepper spray her but caught the side of her face, blasting the woman’s blind teenage daughter in the process. “My sister-in-law had the wind knocked out of her. Her daughter was still holding her hand when she was pepper sprayed. She started screaming and crying as she didn’t know what was happening. My sister-in-law shouted at the police officer for causing harm to her blind daughter,” added Pillay.
Phoenix resident, Jane Lazarus, who was present at the protest debacle, said, “When the blind child was pepper-sprayed and began screaming I tried to go to her assistance. Her mother was still trying to sort herself. The police officer then screamed, ‘Take that b*h and fk off.’ He had the pepper spray aimed at me and I was afraid to make a move.”
The sister of slain, Donovan Naicker who is heading up the #JusticeForDonovan campaign, Natasha Naidoo, claims the police were prejudiced against the protesters on site as they chanted for corruption to fall. Naidoo said there were protesters for a Waterloo rape case who were present outside court and were armed. She alleged that those protesters were looking to topple the police van with the suspect but were not tackled in any way whereas the #JusticeForDonovan protesters were ruthlessly attacked. “This is police brutality and it cannot go unpunished. Those responsible for attacking the unarmed women must be brought to book. Police cannot turn a blind eye to this abuse,” Naidoo said.
Community activist and campaign organiser, Roshina Roy, said, “We were permitted to protest. We were a group of unarmed women who were protesting and calling for justice. The police acted viciously and attacked us women without a second thought. That was abuse against us and it is for this very reason that Women’s Month is so important. We need to impart to the public that women cannot be abused and ill-treated as they see fit. We are human beings with rights. We did not deserve to be treated in such an atrocious manner.”
According to Roy, women who were handled roughly by police sustained various injuries including a broken arm and one woman was pepper sprayed in her mouth. The injured women have since opened up cases at the police station with regards to the assault and have filled out the required J88 forms. Verulam & Tongaat Tabloid contacted Verulam SAPS for comment but nothing was forthcoming at the time of gong to press.