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New weapons act not a loophole for police

The ISS says the new Dangerous Weapons Act doesn’t give extra power to police officers.

A young boy holding metal rods as weapons taunts the police during a violent service delivery protest. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says the passing of a new Dangerous Weapons Act should not empower the police to use more force during protests.

The act came into effect earlier this month and makes it illegal to carry various weapons, particularly during protests.

The weapons include air-guns, imitation firearms, swords, spears, knives, knuckle-dusters, nunchucks and hammers.

Any person found in possession of such a weapon could face criminal prosecution if they raise what is described as 'reasonable suspicion of using the weapon to commit a crime'.

The institute's Gareth Newham says the act gives police a way to charge those who endanger the lives of others, but does not give extra powers to officers.

"This legislation doesn't change the fundamental principle that the police should always use minimum and proportional force when engaging in any kind of policing activity."

A week ago, four people were killed, allegedly at the hands of police officials, during a water protest in Mothutlung in the North West.