Sihle Zikalala, the current Premier of KwaZulu-Natal has apologised for the “level of force” after being caught on film punching an alleged looter.
The clip, which was broadcast on Thursday, was captured by the Newsroom Afrika news crew. It shows Zikalala trying to apprehend a young man trying to run away. Zikalala appears to punch him with force twice before the man manages to flee.
In a statement released later on Thursday, Zikalala’s office said the premier “apologises unequivocally” for the incident.
However, in the same statement, he apologises only for the “level of force” used, as “apprehending a resisting looter is justified.”
The statement reads: “The premier regrets the level of force used in apprehending a looter, who was attempting to make off with goods that had been stolen from a nearby warehouse. While the action of apprehending a resisting looter is justified, the manner in which this was done is deeply regretted.
“The premier apologises for this incident. The premier believes that public violence has no place in society and in the same spirit, those who commit acts of destruction do not share in the values of our nation.”
Economic Freedom Fighters Deputy President, Floyd Shivambu, wrote: “Sihle Zikalala is outrightly foolish and must be held accountable for mob justice and vigilantism. He’s [legitimising] thugs and criminals who think they are permitted to assault and kill people in Phoenix and other [parts] of KZN. He’s a fool!”
Sharing the clip on Twitter, political analyst Justice Malala wrote “KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala wants Jacob Zuma to be pardoned and released from prison. In this clip he is seen beating up a kid suspected of looting. He is showing you his true face. He believes in mob justice for poor people. And special pardons for the connected.”
Video source: @MondeTSibisi