Accountability and curbing murders of officers: 5 takeouts from police report

30 March 2021 - 13:25 By cebelihle bhengu
Police minister Bheki Cele said in other parts of the world, killing police officers is considered to be treason. File photo.
Police minister Bheki Cele said in other parts of the world, killing police officers is considered to be treason. File photo.
Image: File photo

Police minister Bheki Cele has called on communities to protect police officers.

He said there is not enough awareness regarding the killing of officers both on and off duty.

The minister and police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole released a report on policing and crowd policing by the police service on Monday.

Here are five takeouts from the briefing:

Compensation for Marikana families

The minister said the police service has paid out R176m in compensation to the families of murdered Marikana mine workers.

“R18m worth of civil claims is yet to be finalised. The process to finalise other categories of compensation are ongoing. There has been a directive from the cabinet that the issue of families of those killed before August 16 2012 must be looked at.”

Accountability

Sitole said there is a public order structure that ensures the accountability of public order police officers during protests. He said police officers are always held accountable through different structures, including for the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba.

“For any action they undertake, there must have been a command. Sometimes officers have to wait for the command, but sometimes the situation will demand they act to respond to a situation that arises. Where there has been a command, they take responsibility.

“Should we find commanders violated the prescripts, we commission internal investigations.”

Rubber bullets 

The commissioner said the department will issue a new national instruction regarding the use of rubber bullets during protests.

“We are not going to stop the use of rubber bullets but we are going to change the standard operational procedure. We will also issue a new national instruction regarding how they should be used. There will be stricter provisions for police to make use of rubber bullets.”

Protection of police officers

Cele said the department is concerned by the murders of police officers

“Many police officers are dying. About four days ago, another was shot in Alexandra township while on duty. We have buried quite a lot of them - nearly 12 in five weeks. What worries us is that there are fewer calls about police protection. In other parts of the world, killing police officers is treason.”

Public order policing 

The minister said public order police officers have been provided with new equipment to ensure effective policing during protests.

“The vehicles have first-aid equipment and officers are trained to respond when people are hurt. Correspondence has also been improved. There are loudhailers and cameras so everything that is happening there is well kept for accountability purposes.”


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