A video showing a police officer and taxi driver embroiled in a fist fight in Khayelitsha went viral on social media on December 24.

The footage appears to have been captured by a passenger of the minibus taxi. It shows a South African Police Service (SAPS) vehicle sideswiping the taxi, when both vehicles came to a standstill the officer disembarked from his vehicle and opens the taxi’s door, which was slightly ajar, and punches the driver before any words are said.

A short while later, the driver headbutt’s the officer and they begin fighting in earnest. At one point during the altercation, the driver has the officer pinned to the ground and spits in his face.

The officer implicated in the video was allegedly performing his duties under the influence of alcohol, according to SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

The 33-year-old officer is a constable attached to Khayelitsha Site B police station and belongs to the Crime Prevention Unit.

“[P]olice officials from Lingelethu West police station who were busy with a vehicle checkpoint on Spine Road were alerted to two vehicles that were involved in an accident in Ilitha Park (not far from where the members were) that led to an altercation between the two drivers,” said Potelwa in a statement.

Upon arrival the Lingalethu officers found the damaged taxi and SAPS vehicle and noticed that the uniformed police officer seemed unsteady on his feet; they took him for testing and he was subsequently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless and negligent driving.

“The SAPS management condemns the unbecoming conduct of the police official and undertakes to ensure that there will be consequences for his actions,” said Potelwa.

The taxi driver’s identity is known to police and he will be interviewed as part of the ongoing investigations.

Picture: screenshot from video

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