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Mthethwa: Cops acted on their own

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says police management cannot be blamed for Mothutlung deaths.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says police management cannot be blamed for the fatal shooting of four protestors in Mothutlung last week.

Six police officers have been suspended and another eight are being served with notice of their suspension.

The 14 include two lieutenants, six warrant officers and six constables.

This follows an internal police inquiry into the shootings during a protest by the residents over the lack of water.

The inquiry found SSG 12-gauge rounds had been fired during the protest.

The use of this type of ammunition was supposed to have been discontinued by the police eight years ago.

Mthethwa says the police officers were members of the public order policing division.

"They are experienced members in that field. They are trained in that field. Now if somebody is trained to do something in a particular way and decide to do something else, I don't think that even the management can be bl;amed there."

Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has lashed at the police, accusing them of using apartheid tactics to disperse protests.

Malema was reacting to the death of five protesters in the past two weeks.

Malema led a march of hundreds of his supporters to the Madibeng Municipal offices on Friday, where he handed over a memorandum of demands relating to service delivery shortfalls.

Malema questioned who was in charge in the police.

"They believe that a supervisor of a black person is a white person, 20 years into democracy. Police, you must be ashamed. We are not asking for anything, we are here to ask for water."