In a shocking turn, the South African Defence Force (SANDF) has told the victims of the #BlueLightMafia that they are “prohibited” to “speak to anyone” about the attack on them by eight members of the SAPS VIP division without a SANDF General present – even after hours in their personal capacity.
Daniël Eloff, the Action Society’s legal representative, vehemently challenges this attempt to curtail the victims’ right to freedom of expression. He argues, “In terms of South African law and the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the SANDF has no jurisdiction to inhibit the victims or any individual from expressing their views or recounting their experiences outside of work hours and off military premises. More importantly, one would expect the upper echelons of the defence force to stand by its members, supporting them in their time of need rather than aiding in the protection of the alleged assailants from the SAPS VIP unit. The truth must be brought to light, and the victims have every right to bring their personal experiences into public view.”
Eloff further underlines the importance of transparency in such serious matters, “The victims’ voices should not be quelled. Instead, they should be amplified to bring attention to this grave issue, encouraging immediate and decisive action. Inhibiting their communication only fosters a climate of fear and obstruction of justice. We will not allow this infringement on their rights to continue. Our society deserves better and we stand firmly with the victims of this crime.”
Meanwhile, Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society suspect that there is political pressure from higher up in the ranks of both the SAPS and SANDF. “On the SAPS side, justice is being delayed and on the SANDF side the victims are being silenced. None of the victims asked for this. But they are standing up and are representing hundreds of victims before him whose stories were never told. We stand with them and we will not Shut up!”