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Arrest these Okes

by Phumlani Pikoli / 28.02.2011

Cops push a man against a car and make him assume the position. More cops stop other pedestrians of “colour”, forcing them into a spot search that looks more than a little violating.
“I knew it. They’re arresting blacks!” One of my comrades yells. “This is some fucking bullshit!”
A red-faced individual at the table opposite us, clearly taking full advantage of the cocktail special here at Neighborhood, rebuts our disapproval.
“They should arrest all these okes. They all sell drugs man!”
Welcome to Zille city.

We’re taken aback by the chirp. Especially here in the centre of Cape Town’s eclectic Long Street. A quick war of words breaks out. Eventually my comrade suggests that the idiot should kiss his ass. Later Redface’s friends approach us, saying to take the guy with a pinch of salt. They tell us how Long Street really is infested with drug dealers and it’s those “okes” he’s happy to see arrested. It has, they assure us, nothing to do with skin colour. Idiocy loves company and we stare at them, a band of blank brothers, until they leave.

Down on the street, everyone who had been singled out and accosted by the cops had been released, which negates the “infestation of drug dealers” theory. Up on the balcony, these cocktail hour fucks just assumed the cops know what they’re doing and always act honourably, seeing regular folks rounded up immediately as “suspects”.

Net Blankes

Suspects? The common denominator here was that they weren’t white. The only suspect thing going on was the cops’ behaviour. People who haven’t been unjustifiably searched themselves tend to think that we exaggerate how humiliating and degrading it can be. Get pushed up against a wall and have a cop’s hand root around in your crotch for no plausible reason, without any compelling rationale, then see if you still want to talk about these random searches being in the public interest.

Once, in broad daylight, out walking with a housemate (who happened to be a pretty young white girl) two officers stopped and searched my brother and I then, I kid you not, asked her if we were “kidnapping” her. On several occasions I’ve had cops straight up ask me for my I.D book. Have you? Then they want to know why I’m not carrying it. Excuse me? Back to the fucking Dompas. Racially profiled. No other reason fits.

On his first day in Cape Town, another friend ended up sharing the back of a police van with an old man still with fresh groceries in hand. Las year, I was arrested for skateboarding. The police told my angry friends (one of whom is a lawyer) that I was arrested because I “know too much”. They concluded this after I wouldn’t sign an admission of guilt slip without a charge. When I told the policeman if he signed the slip as a third party witness he would be committing fraud, they threatened to lock me up in Pollsmoor and “throw away the key”. None of my white friends seem to have experienced this. Arrested without a charge. Perpetually suspect. This feels like unspoken policy frankly. Policy redolent of the verkrampte past. Uppity black “okes” are apparently still the target.

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  1. Lizzy says:

    you’re right, i’ve seen it happen, but it doesnt just happen in Cape Town. Just as bad in durban and probably worst in JHB, where its often explicitly black people who ‘look foreign’. but i guess just looking black and poor is enough. fucking pigs.

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  2. YsterHart says:

    Its weird how black government authority types (security, cops, whatever) are often the worse perpetrators of this junk. For example, off the top of my head, on the train when the security come through checking tickets they invariably waltz right by shoddily dressed white stoner types like myself, and target the black guys. Whats up with that?

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  3. JM Koet$ee says:

    Welcome to Kakstad.

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  4. Thande2010 says:

    Worst is when this security officials demand to see tickets from non whites travelling on metroplus, formerly known as ‘first class,’ Dude, I can afford to travel first class!

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  5. shame luvie says:

    fell victim to this twice already and on both occasions during my lunch-break walking down the Sea Point promenade. The most embarrassing time was when one of my customers saw this and tried to explain to the idiots that they were” arresting his pharmacist”. It’s hard to keep calm in these situations & i just wish i can take a video of these random assaults…

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  6. Barry Bonds says:


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  7. Similo says:

    Just don’t.

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  8. Andy says:

    I’m a whitey, lived in Cape Town since 1995 and I’ve never been harassed or arrested by the cops despite the fact that I’ve cruised Long and many other streets in the city with all kinds of nefarious things in my pockets… I don’t have one black friend who can claim the same. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

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  9. Twig says:

    …and this is indicative of what, exactly? Public servants by and large being ignorant underpaid disinterested morons, and nothing more. Your attempts to extrapolate this to some clandestine DA-policy are dire, as are your blanket-derisions of “these cocktail hour fucks”. Stop bleating about being victimised and grow up.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I beg to differ.

    I’m a white individual and I had a pretty unresting run into the police a week ago, which left me really wondering who the enemy of the people really is.

    Myself and a female friend were driving around Woodstock at night looking for locations to shoot a a few scenes for a short film I was putting together.

    Our behavior was quite erratic as we would drive a bit, stop, get out, look around, get back in the car and do it all over again.

    This might have looked suspect to a patrol car who hastily blocked us off with their car and two officers pounced on us. Just for the record, one officer was a Coloured Male and the other was a White Female.

    Pointing his gun at me (I was on the passenger side), the male officer told me to get out the car, I was a bit worried but then I thought ‘Ok, they just wanna see what the story is, I should just entertain them and they’ll leave us alone’ but no, the cop got rough with me, looking through all my pockets and pushing me against the car, I began to notice that the situation was not as frivolous as I thought. Then the female police officer comes around the car (she was searching the car by the driver’s side), leans down and produces a bag of Marijouana.

    The male cop looks at me and says ‘what’s this?’. Right there and then I knew I was getting framed by the police! I told the officer, I didn’t know or cared what that was, they did not find it on my person or in the car I was traveling in and they can’t just pin that on me, but by now the male officer was manhandling me into the police car, I was under arrest.

    The girl I was with tried to protest but I told her to just let it be otherwise they would arrest her too and considering the situation, I needed somebody to be my witness and for that witness to stay out of jail.

    The police drove off and left my female friend alone by her car in a dark street in Woodstock. A few minutes later we’re at the police station and as I get put into an interrogation cell, my phone rings and it is my female friend who tells me that she can’t find the car keys and she’s freaking out cuz there’s a whole bunch of dodgy characters approaching her.

    So to make a story worse, not only did the police plant drugs on me, they left a girl in a pretty dangerous position in the middle of a dodgy neighbourhood. And I thought the Police were supposed to prevent crime, not create situations ripe for it.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, the Police was beyond reason as far as I’m concerned.

    It felt like I was part of a sick game of power lead by a sadistic bunch. There was nothing I could do, I had just been kidnapped by the Police.

    To make matters worse, they told me that if I did not admit to guilt, I would spend the next 48 hours locked up without bail until I saw a judge who would then decide if I was innocent or not and if he would give me bail. They say all of this in the same breath that informs me that in South Africa you’re innocent till proven guilty. I looked at him, wide eyed and said ‘REALLY?”.

    They did give me an option though, to admit guilt, sign an admission of guilt form, pay a R100 fine and leave within the next 4 hours ‘if my record is clean’.

    I knew my record was clean so that wasn’t a problem, I had a problem with the twist of events which meant that to contest my innocence I was gonna have to spend a couple of days in jail because of some uneducated imbecile who had to play God with his official rank.

    I thought about it long and hard and I knew that either way, the cops were gonna win, so if I was gonna let them win this one, the only other choice I had was ‘how much I would allow them to humiliate me’ and the only answer that came to mind was to sigh admission of guilt, give them their pathetic R100 and go home. Truth is, that I would have admitted to murder if it would have gotten me the hell out of that place and the hell out of their grasp and in a position where I was treated like a person again and not some means to an end for a bored police officer who is trying to rack up his weekly quota of arrests.

    Their game was tight, by signing admission of guilt I had given myself the status of ‘criminal’ and now my word against a police officer was worth nothing, I am now ‘just a criminal’.

    They took photos, finger prints and all sort of other information out of me.

    To contest this would become such a headache and considering the situation I would not be surprised if I began to receive police threats. So all I can do, is let it go and watch my back next time I see a police car.

    So, here it is, I am white, I became a target. Maybe my skin colour has nothing to do with it, maybe the real war is being fought between the public and an overzealously unjustifiably empowered lower educated class i.e Police officers.

    They kept on saying ‘we’re just doing our job’ and I kept on thinking ‘you couldn’t be possibly doing your job, your job is to learn how to read and give your job description a once over’.

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  11. shame luvie says:

    @ twig: you’ve clearly missed the point of the write-up.. ” Stop bleating about being victimised and grow up”?

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  12. shame luvie says:

    @ Anonymous: dude that’s some shocking event & i’m sorry for that, Woodstock is my beloved hood and i’ve heard of similar stories. the problem here is the way these law enforcers do their jobs that lead to racial profiling, ego-trips & just overall corrupt behaviour. you really start to wonder how much power has been given to to them by local government/SAPS?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous. was the female cop very short with brown-ish hair?

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  14. Arrested says:

    I think Anonymous has a point. I am white and female (the supposedly ‘untouchable’ demographic) and myself and many friends have been through what Anon described. I am in debt of over twelve thousand in legal fees because of that forced admission of guilt shit, because I refuse to leave the situation at a criminal record I don’t deserve. I still think the article is correct in saying that the majority of unfairly targeted citizens are ‘non-white’ (what a horrible expression), but it may be worth upacking some of the other points that have been raised about the police and secruity companies themselves.

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  15. Kook says:

    @ Thande2010 … it’s not about whether you can afford to travel 1st class… it’s about saving money, actually! I used to travel 3rd as a teenager, and the amount of money that I got robbed of was worth a lifetime of trainfare! LOL I still can’t believe I just kept chalking it up to bad luck and doing it again!! 😛

    @Anon… I can’t help but wonder if they were doing it in the hopes that a wealthy whitey woud offer them a nic juicy bribe (which would of course be another example of racial profiling)

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I live in Durban and there’s one douchbag band of pigs who constantly patrol the Umbilo area on weekends looking for party-goers to fuck with and throw in jail. Have seen them harassing black taxi drivers for no reason, and getting aggressive and throwing dudes in the van for ‘giving them attitude’. Nothing too hectic yet, just pisses me off to see a bunch assholes who peaked in grade 11 given the authority of policemen. Disturbing shit.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Jeez ppl stop taking this away from being an issue of colour. You are ruining Mahala’s angle. Surely you cannot be targeted being white and highly advanteged by your protective eductations? Neee…ver. nooit. You must have been guilty. You all need a good Shabir bitch slapping.

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  18. ling-ling says:

    They are “cocktail fucks” and THEY are the ones buying and keeping the trade of drugs.

    If the buyers were treated the same as the sellers I wonder….

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  19. X says:

    I’m a white female from Cape Town. I was recently arrested and treated like shit by the cops-just like everyone else in the cells. I really don’t think that the colour issue is prevalent everywhere.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Is it black cops arresting black okes or coloured/white cops doing the arresting?

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  21. Max says:

    Phumlani, next time don’t forget your dom-pass at home


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  22. be informed says:

    maybe, just maybe the cops were searching suspects, following an incident further along Long street.
    And quite frankly I (a whitey) have been a victim of racism from non white cops.
    More than once
    what’s the point ?
    Most police are power tripping nobs…..but not all of them
    I don’t think colour is the issue here…..
    neither is Cape Town…this happens everywhere
    The writer of this article is making huge generalizations.
    Poor journalism

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  23. Phumlani says:

    To be informed you are quite clearly retarded. generalisations? i’m sharing experiences that others and myself have gone through? me a middle class kid from the burbs, now what do you think happens to the average man on the street trying to hustle a living? there is no journalism in this, i’m merely sharing experience and giving an eye witness account of how I watched police racially profile individuals and violate their constitutional rights. shut the fuck up about your racist experience from racist non-white cops. we have racist experiences from all of them. i’m talking about an experience shared by many on a daily basis. it’s better to have your mouth closed and seem stupid than open it and prove everyone right

    Anonymous in the woodstock incident: sorry guy, but i don’t think you should have signed that admission of guilt slip. especially if you weren’t guilty. i would go into the whole right spiel and how the law is there to protect you and you just have to be aware of what you can and are entitled to, but the computer screen is making my eyes burn.

    Unfortunately Max i burnt it, trying to make a statement. I can’t even remember what the statement I was trying to make was…

    @Twig I think the phaecal matter between your ears has clogged your thought process. I wish you luck flushing it out.

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  24. shame luvie says:

    just saw this:


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  25. Anonymous says:

    “it’s better to have your mouth closed and seem stupid than open it and prove everyone right”

    Maybe you should take your own advice?

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  26. budstarb9 says:


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  27. bones says:

    Think everyone should just chill out and realize that, yes, most our cops are full-of-shit-dooshbag-nobodies, who could count the days they’ve thought logic rational thoughts on one hand and yes, due to our countries turbulent past, we all feel like we’re victims of
    “gross generalizations” or “racial profiling” and we’ve all got a story about a friend who got a full cavity search for wearing a wife-beater BUT fuck…..Maybe try look at it this way- the slackness and incompetence of our police force gives us South Africans an unrivaled degree of freedom (we can basically do what we want as long as we put up with the odd bullshit encounter with the pig-fucks). And that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me… You disagree..?-well just look at the mountain or a mountain, for the non tonians, and chill out

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  28. Beep says:

    Ja man , those bloody pigs!
    But I think they exploit any available opportunity
    So the key lies not in what race you are but the game you play in whatever situation you find yourself.
    Cause they gona tap that ass no matter the colour if the meats ripe for da picking

    But not all police are Pigs …. but damn do I get a sinking feeling when I spot a pig with devious intent coming my way.
    Aw shucks here it comes!

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  29. Dan says:

    I fully agree with the reality that the SAPS tends use a system biased system of racial profiling when going about their business but by no means is this limited only to black people. I am a white dude who has grown up in Cape Town and Ive had some serious hassles with the cops ever since I was a teenager.
    Granted in my younger years I caused a bit of kak and was into drugs. But in the last three years I have not touched a drug or carried any on my possesion, neither have broken a law and acted in a dangerous or unusual manner. Yet I dread having to go walk up to the 711 at night or taking a ride on my skateboard after 8PM out fear of being searched or arrested. I have been searched a number of times in the last few years and every time they’ve found nothing on me, but the whole process is so humiliating and degrading. On a whole they act in a vile an offensive manner and project a disgusting attitude of sadistic authoritarianism. It really freaks me put that these guys are allowed to do this.
    Is there any way that citizens can put a stop to this behavior? Is there some way in which this stuff can be reported and some accountability can be taken? I feel that this behavior is a complete infringement on my rights as a citizen to walk around freely.

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  30. ~ South African Constitution ~ says:

    9. Equality

    Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

    Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.

    The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

    *1 No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.

    Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.

    10. Human dignity

    Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

    11. Life

    Everyone has the right to life.

    12. Freedom and security of the person

    Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right
    not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;
    not to be detained without trial;
    to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;
    not to be tortured in any way; and
    not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

    Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right
    to make decisions concerning reproduction;
    to security in and control over their body; and
    not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.
    13. Slavery, servitude and forced labour

    No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.

    14. Privacy

    Everyone has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have

    their person or home searched;
    their property searched;
    their possessions seized; or
    the privacy of their communications infringed.

    SAPS probably wiped their arse with this page…

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  31. Craig Vine says:

    haha i hope those cops beat the shit out of them – if they were those drug dealing scum. One cannot take a walk down one block on long without being pestered by some scummy fucking cunt who doesn’t even sell legit shit (and, to be factual, not one of them is of light skin tone – just an observation. However, I trust your judgment will not factor that in. Your focus is beyond clear and rational. Its evidently personal.)

    Speaking of physicalities, does it matter what build the person is? Or whether or not the person is male or female? Has a beard? No? Of course not. Unless of course you were bearded and the cops were searching bearded men.
    Colour is an easy angle. With a bit of wisdom and education, I hope that your senseless wonder will contemplate the near stupidity of this article. This petty writing is a blatant attempt at primal warfare on a past thats been overcome by democracy and hope.

    I should not even need to mention that the majority of South African’s have darker skin colour, as this MUST certainly be racial profiling. Obviously you have the astonishing ability to realize this from a possibly-intoxicated distance… fitted together with a dire need to impress fellow comrades with your classy skills, you must thus be the hero in this dramatic portrayal of a past you never once lived in.

    Colour is ultimately meaningless. And race is not genetic. People categorize race by the colour of ones skin. You decide the rest. If fucking aliens attacked our country tomorrow, sure as hell we would all band together in an effort to deal with the situation. There would be no concern over who is fucking pink and yellow. It would be human or mother fucking ET.

    Id suggest reading some good literature before protruding into such a controversial subject… but, it may upset you that its written by a black man, in which case you would most likely call him an agent for a white supremist, or an idiot.

    Gah.. written purely for self-satisfaction. Its like a failed sales pitch. Yet the stupidity of it all has me sitting here typing away my useless nonsense. I could prob wage money, my mom, and 14 virgins, that your apparent need to display your ID whilst on the street didnt actually happen… but if prefer it you own up and explain that the fermented goats milk had already kicked in, and you were in actually standing at the entrance to a night club without a tshirt on.

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  32. Narc says:

    There are a lot of silly kids jabbering away here. I am a police officer…an undercover narcotics police officer. I have made dozens of arrests in Long Street, Senator Park and surrounds. I am not a ‘pig’ and I am not stupid…and I am not fat either, so save your silly stereotypes. Fact: the majority of the dealers in the Long Street area are black foreigners. I tend to target dealers rather than users, so go figure, in the Long Street area I arrest the people who approach me and sell me drugs, because that’s my job. It is not random. I don’t search every dark chap I see and blow my cover. I buy and bust. Of course, I have arrested plenty of white dealers too, just not in that area. Observatory, Mowbray, Rondebosch and Kenilworth come to mind. Anyway, I’m rambling. Kids, kindly grow up. I have been a policeman for years and have been nothing but honourable, fair and just. I detest this sort of anonymous internet badmouthing. Tomorrow, when you hear your bedroom window getting smashed in the middle of the night, you are going to fumble and squeal into the phone, crying for the police…the police will respond…the very same police who you despise, and maybe one of them will take a bullet for you…but you won’t care…just extra bacon to go around. In my years as a white cop, I have encountered so much racism I can’t even begin to explain. Black people see a white cop and they see a ‘racist’, when in fact they are the racist ones…they make this abundantly clear in their reaction to white people. I have been spat on, scratched by manic, drunk black women calling me the choicest racist names under the sun, but of course, racism directed at white people is acceptable, isn’t it?

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  33. Andy says:

    nice work Narc… think you might have some story leads for us to pursue?

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  34. Narc says:

    @ mahala, the form they asked you to sign was not an ‘admission of guilt’ slip as you claim. So many arrested people misunderstand this. It is called a SAP14A. Basically, it simply serves to inform you of your rights. The idea is that you sign that you have received it and that they explained your rights. A lot of belligerent people refuse to sign, therefore the form makes allowance for this and provides an option for another cop (the third party) to sign that he witnessed you being informed of your rights. Signing this form will in no way jeopardise you. And the third party cop is simply following procedure by signing it…not…LOL, committing ‘fraud’.

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  35. Narc says:

    Thanks Andy. Lol, no, I tend to steer clear of media etc

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  36. Andy says:

    maybe we could have an “off the record” conversation?

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