Cele condemns Sassa water cannon incident, says that approach is for riots

Public Order Police members were deployed to manage a crowd at the Bellville Sassa offices last month using a water cannon on elderly and disabled recipients.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele said that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle in Bellville could have been handled better.

Public Order Police members were deployed to manage a crowd at the Sassa offices last month using a water cannon on elderly and disabled recipients.

Police and Sassa received criticism over the past few weeks.

Cele acknowledged that there were vulnerable people, some even on crutches.

In his view, the approach should have been different.

"The approach that we used was an approach for people that are rioting. Yes, we didn't use stun grenade but we used water cannons. Those are for people who are rioting. So, we should have not really done that," he said.

Meanwhile, MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz said he has received the acting provincial police commissioner's report on what had occurred.

However, he said the report was merely a partial account of what took place, adding that questions such as who requested the deployment of the unit and why the resources were necessary were not answered.

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