Brutality not policy - Cele
On the day President Jacob Zuma told the nation the ANC was concerned about police brutality, the family of Jeanette Odendaal, who was allegedly shot by an officer outside the Kempton Park police station, identified her body at a mortuary.
A grey-haired Dick Odendaal and his wife, Ella, were sad and subdued when they met National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele after identifying their daughter's body yesterday.
Odendaal, 45, was allegedly shot outside the police station on Tuesday night after bumping into a parked police van.
Witnesses say they saw a police officer walk into the station to get a firearm and return to Odendaal's car to allegedly shoot her in the left shoulder as she sat in the driver's seat of her white Citi Golf.
"It would have been much better if it did not happen," Cele told the media after meeting the Odendaals at the police station yesterday.
Odendaal's best friend, who asked not to be named, said she was "completely shocked" by her death.
Clutching three clear bags containing Odendaal's watch and other valuables she had fetched from the police, the friend smoked in the garden outside the station, while high-ranking police officials inspected her friend's car, still parked outside the station.
Odendaal's parents refused to speak to the media. They were flanked by two police chaplains and the station commander of the Kempton Park police station as they listened to Cele.
Refusing to divulge details of the case, Cele attacked the media for labelling the death as another case of police brutality.
"There is no policy [of police brutality] that police must step out of the way and use excessive force when it is unnecessary," he said.
Speaking at ANC headquarters yesterday, Zuma said a "culture" of police brutality should not be tolerated. Referring to the killing of both Odendaal and service-delivery protester Andries Tatane two weeks ago, Zuma said: "We don't want police that are violent against people.
"We can't allow a situation like the one in Ficksburg where one man carrying nothing in his hands is beaten to death by a pack of policemen. It's not acceptable."
Cele, however, said he was "not about to retreat" from his previous message to police to protect themselves "when they go for a cash heist criminal or when they go for a bank robber".
He accused the media of not having reported that 20 police officers had been killed on duty since January or and that last week a young constable was shot dead during an ATM bombing.
Cele refused to say whether the sergeant who was arrested for allegedly killing Odendaal was mentally unstable.
"I am not a psychologist," he said.
Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said it was difficult to link the shooting to recent "shoot to kill" rhetoric.
"The officer allegedly just completely lost all control, took a firearm and apparently shot this woman," said Burger.
He likened the shooting to a road rage incident, where a person uses a firearm just "because they have a firearm".
The officer linked to Odendaal's death was arrested by the Independent Complaints Directorate, who have taken over the case.
He will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court today.