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Letter sent to National Commissioner of Police Riah Phiyega on Nickolaus Bauer incident
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Letter sent to National Commissioner of Police Riah Phiyega on Nickolaus Bauer incident

Dear General Phiyega,

30 April 2014

We bring greetings from our members during these times of heightened activity by your members due to the
forthcoming national and provincial elections.

It is in fact due to these heightened activity and passion that accompanies these historic elections that we write to you today. As you will remember, when we met with you and your communications team last month, we particularly raised the issue of SAPS members deleting pictures from cameras of photographers. In this vein we agreed that an instruction will go out from your office to all SAPS members ordering that same should cease.

We regret that hardly a month after our meeting there was a flagrant disregard of this agreement, when a member of the VIP Protection Unit assigned to President Jacob Zuma harassed and then forcibly took a mobile phone from eNCA reporter Nikolaus Bauer, and deleted pictures that the journalist had taken at an election rally in Duduza on Friday April 25, 2014.

This is not an allegation as the concerned officer was captured by other journalist cameras deleting the pictures, which showed ANC t-shirts being handed out after being delivered to the function in a Gauteng traffic authority vehicle.

The journalist may well take other action. We are however writing to you in the spirit of our meeting to express our disappointment and disgust at the continued behaviour of officers towards journalists and photographers. We believe it is time you publicly rebuked this behaviour and issue the order we agreed to at the meeting that would be circulated to all members of the SAPS indicating that this behaviour is unbecoming, wrong, undesirable and reprehensible in a democracy such as ours.

We trust that when such an order has gone out you will avail us a copy. In the meantime, both our team and yours have made progress towards the creation of the committee that would seek lasting solutions to these and other problems we have identified.

We remain committed to working with you and hope you will take this issue up with the concerned officer.

Executive Director

Mathatha Tsedu

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