South Africa: Zuma Bodyguards Raise Spectre of ‘Police State’

From the Mail & Guardian:

The arrest of a student for “swearing” at President Jacob Zuma’s convoy is a tactic of a police state, not a democracy, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Wednesday.

DA leader Helen Zille said the way the police acted was a reminder of the actions of the apartheid-era security police.

“They are reminiscent of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, which the African National Congress is increasingly trying to emulate,” said Zille.

Chumani Maxwele was arrested on Wednesday last week when he allegedly showed his middle finger to Zuma’s convoy while he was jogging in De Waal Street in Cape Town. He was arrested at gunpoint by police officers.

He allegedly had a bag pulled over his head and was first taken to Zuma’s residence, before he was taken to Rondebosch and then the Mowbray police station, where he was allegedly interrogated by intelligence officers.

He was kept for just less than 24 hours and was released before appearing in court on charges of crimen injuria and resisting arrest.

Zweli Mnisi, spokesperson for the Police Ministry, said Maxwele became aggressive when he was questioned by police.

“Aggression towards the police is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Mnisi.

[Read more from the Mail & Guardian]