SASSA police

Photo: Twitter screenshot

SASSA: EFF slams SA police for brutality, ‘inheriting Cele’s God-complex’

SA police members were seen using a water cannon on elderly and vulnerable SASSA grant beneficiaries on Friday.

SASSA police

Photo: Twitter screenshot

Tragic scenes outside the Bellville SASSA office in Cape Town quickly turned into headlines on Friday 15 January. Videos of SA police using water cannons on frail grant beneficiaries — most of whom were collecting disability grants — began to spread like wildfire on social media. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have since labelled the police “cowardly thugs” itching to mimic the behaviour of apartheid law enforcement. According to reports, the police were trying to enforce social distancing amid snaking queues.  


The EFF did not take lightly to the scenes that played out at the SASSA office. The party lambasted police, as well as, Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu for “addressing grant recipients from inside of a police van”. 

“There is absolutely no logic or rationale for using brute force to ensure social distancing by the elderly who went to SASSA to speed up the process of receiving much-needed relief to alleviate the painful impact of poverty,” it said in a statement. 

As previously reported by The South African, some 210 000 recipients were told they would have to apply in person at the SASSA offices to get their disability grants renewed. 

“All of the police officers involved in the despicable act must be suspended with immediate effect, lest SAPS thinks it can operate with impunity in this country,” it added. 


The party said it comes as no surprise that the police, who were seen firing water cannons at the elderly outside SASSA, are in Cape Town. 

“Police are too cowardly to fight crime in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and to enforce regulations in the leafy suburbs of Waterfront and Camps Bay yet can target the weak and vulnerable,” it said. 

“[We] commit once again to retaliate to SAPS with the full force of community activism that resembles the brave generation of the anti-apartheid movement if they [police] want to behave like apartheid machinery,” it added. 

The EFF said the patience of our people is wearing thin with South African police and the “God-complex” they inherited from Police Minister Bheki Cele. 

“If they continue to test us, under the supervision of Ministers in this country who are failing at delivering basic services such as grants, there must never be outrage when we treat them with the same disdain.” 

When The South African contacted the Police Ministry for comment regarding the remarks made by the EFF but there was no response at the time of publication.