Sapu: Police feel let down by not having clear guidelines for violent protesters

There are growing calls for government to review the use of rubber bullets, with the police's conduct once again in sharp focus. following the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba earlier this month, when police fired rubber bullets at a group of protesting students.

South African Police Service (SAPS) officers use teargas to disperse students during a protest in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on March 10, 2021. Picture: Emmanuel Croset/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Police Union (Sapu) said that while officers were against police brutality, officers felt let down with no clear recommendations on how to act against violent protesters.

There are growing calls for government to review the use of rubber bullets, with the police's conduct once again in sharp focus.

Mthokozisi Ntumba was killed in Braamfontein earlier this month when police fired rubber bullets at a group of protesting students.

READ: SAHRC calls on SAPS to come up with better ways of controlling protesters

Sapu's acting general secretary, Peter Ntsime said that despite recommendations made by the Farlam commission of inquiry which could guide officers on how to react in crowd controling situations, government had been dragging its feet on the implementation.

"There is a recommendation from a panel of experts that is before the minister that talks about the bill that must be approved at Parliament on policing during this kind of protest. That recommendation has not been implemented. It's been more than two years now."

Meanwhile, independent researcher specialising in policing and public security, David Bruce, said that there was no need to ban the use of rubber bullets, officers simply needed to get clear guidelines.

"I think it would not be good for policing to eliminate them entirely. The manner in which the police are using them right at the moment is completely counter-productive."

Bruce also sat on the panel of experts appointed by the Marikana commission of inquiry to look into all the policing problems highlighted by the 2012 massacre.

He believed that government was failing in its duty to properly regulate the manner in which officers used rubber bullets.

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