Phoenix resident claims SANDF racially profiled him during at roadblock
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DURBAN - PHOENIX resident Sash Munsami has claimed he was racially profiled by the SANDF when he was stopped at a roadblock in Phoenix on Monday night.
The violence, looting and destruction of property in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng led to the deployment of the SANDF, Operation Prosper, to hot spots until October 12 this year.
On Monday, Munsami passed through a SAPS roadblock on Eastbury Drive. The SANDF had a roadblock along Longbury Drive.
Munsami said the SAPS roadblock was done professionally. They flashed torches into his car and he left. At the SANDF roadblock, he saw two Casspirs and soldiers with high-powered rifles in their hands.
Munsami claimed soldiers approached his vehicle from either side. Munsami claimed that one of the soldiers had a torch attached to a pistol which was pointed at him. After a thorough search of his vehicle, they confiscated a small knife and whip he kept for protection against “smash and grab” robbers. He claimed the soldiers spoke in racial tones towards him.
“I felt as if I was racially profiled by the soldiers as a killer. I was told that my 11-year-daughter must get out of the car in the cold, because she is Indian and a threat. I was told I will be made famous if I questioned them on anything.
“Is this what we are subjected to now because we stood up to protect our place? Is this the treatment we deserve now? Everyone is crying racism, yet we are still treated racially.”
Phoenix Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Umesh Singh said he had received complaints and redirected them to the Phoenix SAPS.
Singh said if it was true then it was not ethical for the SANDF to do this. He advised the CPF patrols to stay on their own streets and to abide by the curfew.
“There is no documentation or paper trail for confiscated items. The force they use leaves much to be desired. Their purpose was to maintain law and order. I can also understand we must not get in the way of police investigations while they follow up on leads,” Singh said.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said they encouraged citizens who claimed to have been racially insulted by law enforcement personnel while conducting crime-combating operations in their areas to report such cases at their nearest police stations.
“The SANDF is deployed in support of the SAPS. Members of the public are urged to co-operate with law enforcement agencies. Allow us to carry on with our duties in an easy manner. We are making sure that we rid our communities of all criminal elements,” Mgobozi said.
Munsami, on hearing of the SANDF response, said he would report the incident to the Phoenix police station.
During the unrest, police said 22 murder cases were opened in Phoenix. In KZN districts, murders took place in Amajuba (1), Harry Gwala (3), uMzinyathi (3), uMkhanyakude (3), King Cetshwayo (6), iLembe (8), Ugu (9), uMgungundlovu (20) and eThekwini (110).