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ISS: Police brutality not unique to SA

The Institute for Security Studies says police management needs to improve the SAPS.

The Institute for Security Studies says police management needs to improve the SAPS. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) admits a lot needs to be done to improve the South African Police Service (SAPS).

A report by Amnesty International found the SAPS uses excessive force in their day-to-day activities.

Police brutality is once again in the spotlight following the deaths of protesters in the past week.

At least four men died during a service delivery protest in Mothutlung in the North West.

In another incident, a 15-year-old boy was allegedly shot dead by police during a protest in Bolobedu in Limpopo province over the weekend.

He was part of a group of residents demonstrating following the discovery of a woman's mutilated body in the village.

It's believed the teen was shot and killed while police were trying to disperse the crowd who were burning the homes of the men suspected of the woman's murder.

The police's Hangwani Mulaudzi says all members on duty at the time of the incident handed in their firearms for ballistic testing and results are expected shortly.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating the matter.

Speaking to the Redi Tlhabi Show, ISS's Gareth Newham said the police force has come a long way but more still needs to be done.

"There's been a huge amount of money and effort that's been put into reforming the police shortly after 1994. But issues such as brutality, police deaths where people die as a result of police behaviour and corruption are fundamental inherent problems to policing everywhere in the world.

"The number of violent protests that police responded to last year was almost 2,000 cases. So you are looking at almost three to four violent protests every day that the police are going to respond to."

Newham adds that the needs of police officers also required recognition.

"If those police officials are not properly managed, not properly trained and they don't have the correct equipment and they are not hold accountable when things go wrong, and if they are not properly rewarded and recognised, then you are going to have problems."

He says police brutality is a global problem.

"The problems of police brutality are not unique to South Africa; they are not unique to democracy; they happen in other democracies. But when they carry on you have to say is this acceptable?"

Meanwhile, President of the South African Police Union (Sapu) Mpho Kwinika says police are overworked.

"You only had eight members who were posted in Mothutlung. Those eight members were made to work for more than 20 hours before they received back up from police."

He says the country needs public order policing.

"Public order policing should have been fully operational and have its own intelligence to gather overnight to make sure that such protests don't just happen without their knowledge."