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‘He should not have taken a gun off a police officer’: What you said about Muldersdrift lodge fracas

Len and wife Chantal Cloete.
Len and wife Chantal Cloete.
Image: Facebook/Chantal Deidrè Cloete

Gym owner Len Cloete should not have grabbed a police officer’s gun during an altercation that led to him being shot in the head, said most TimesLIVE readers.

South Africans were reeling this week after a video showing an altercation between Cloete and police went viral online.

The video was captured at a Muldersdrift lodge where security staff had called police after a quarrel between Cloete and lodge staff.

In the video showing the confrontation, a police officer can be heard telling Cloete “ you are playing dangerous”, while he moves out of frame to get a gun. 

After confronting a female officer he moves out of frame again and returns without the gun. He then disarms a police officer while shouting “shoot me, shoot me”.

He then faces a second officer who has his gun pointed at the now-armed Cloete. The officer fires and Cloete falls to the ground.

TimesLIVE ran a poll asking readers if they thought the officer’s actions were justified.

Most readers (67%) expressed support for the police officer, saying Cloete should not have disarmed the female officer, while 24% said the situation should not have been allowed to escalate, and 8% said Cloete should have been restrained immediately.

There were mixed responses on Facebook. 

Thabo Ramohapi said the police officers were in a difficult position.

“What were the cops supposed to do? Hug and kiss him while he disarmed them? He was a danger to everyone in the room, including his wife. He was shot to protect the threatened lives of everyone in that room."

Simon Smith agreed.

“When he (re) appeared with his firearm and cocked it, I would have warned him verbally twice and then dropped him. The cop was justified in his actions in the moment.”

Chantal Govender said police should have arrested Cloete before the situation grew heated. 

“Police were delayed in their action. Firstly police seemed afraid and never handled the situation effectively. They seemed to have been taking all the nonsense calmly from this suspect. They should have placed him under arrest much earlier to avoid such drama. If he wasn’t easy, police could have used teargas to restrain him before guns came to the frontline.” 

On Twitter, some asked to see the full video before reaching conclusions, while others said the officers were justified. 


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