KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday said he was sorry and regretted giving a young boy a mighty whack on the back as looters caused havoc in an area he had visited.
A video of the premier beating the boy has gone viral on social media and attracted criticism.
The KwaZulu-Natal office of the 47-year-old premier said the incident occurred during a visit to the areas worst affected by vandalism and looting.
The visit was part of assessing the damage on the ground to bring an end to the wanton looting.
“While the action of apprehending a resisting looter is justified, the manner in which this was done is deeply regretted,” the premier’s office said in a statement.
“The premier apologises unequivocally about the incident.
“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.”