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Phahlane: We don’t subscribe to the view of police being brutal

The acting police commissioner has reacted to a SAPS member charged for shooting and killing a suspect in Krugersdorp.

FILE: Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane listens to questions during an update on the #Fees2017 protests in Pretoria on 10 October 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien.

JOHANNESBURG – Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane says police have the right to protect themselves if needs be but that can’t be used by officers as a licence to assault the suspects they apprehend.

Phahlane was speaking after the conviction of former policeman Titus Mabela who fatally shot Khulekani Mpanza while he was lying on the ground and unarmed at the time of his death in Krugersdorp.

A magistrate in the Palm Ridge High Court found that Mpanza posed no threat to police officers at the time Mabela shot and killed him.

Phahlane says officers under his command are not brutal and that a few such as convicted murderer Mabela are not to be generalised with the rest of South African Police Service members.

“We certainly don’t subscribe to the generalisation and view of police being brutal.”

Mabela, along with his co-accused Puleng Sebetwa, who was found guilty of common assault, appeared before the High Court on Wednesday where sentencing was postponed to February next year.

CCTV footage of the incident went viral- leading to the arrest and suspension of the officers who were at the scene.

Two of those officers were later acquitted of all charges.

The acting commissioner says cases such as these should be reported and allow the law to unfold for a decision they would respect.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)