Two water cannons were used to disperse crowds that ran riot in Gauteng during the July unrest, the SA Human Rights Commission heard on Monday.
The commission asked Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela to repeat the number, when he testified that only two water cannons were used.
“For the whole province of Gauteng?” he was asked. Mawela replied that the province only had two water cannons. He said in an ideal world he would like to have 10 water cannons, two for each of the five units in the province.
Mawela testified that 869 teargas canisters were launched by police in Gauteng, 312 stun grenades were used, and 16,971 shotgun bullets were fired by officers during the unrest.
“Within the public order police, they were adequately resourced in terms of arms and ammunition but there were times at other police stations where they would run out of rubber bullets, but it didn't mean that as a province, we didn't have. The stations that ran out were able to get support from other stations.”
The scope of the unrest hearing, which began in Durban last Monday, includes apparent racially motivated killings, the lack of law enforcement, the role of private security companies, the targeting of retail outlets and businesses, and speculation that the unrest and looting were orchestrated.
The hearing continues.