Sitole: There was a shortage of police capacity to handle July unrest

National police commissioner Khehla Sitole has given testimony on Monday at the South African Human Rights Commission's hearings into the looting and riots in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng.

National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla Sitole. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - National police commissioner Khehla Sitole said there was a shortage of police capacity to deal with the July unrest.

He's given testimony on Monday at the South African Human Rights Commission's hearings into the looting and riots in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng.

More than 300 people were killed and it cost the economy billions.

Sitole said police were overstretched and could not be everywhere in time.

WATCH: Police commissioner: We could have done better to quell the July unrest

He said one hot spot would be stabilised and then another would erupt, resulting in a human capital crisis.

“We did not have enough capacity to respond but the other main cause was the nature of the modus operandi used.”

Sitole described the unrest as the first of its kind, because it had a technological component.

“The planners of the July unrest invented a new modus operandi and it was the first modus operandi of its kind.”

He maintains there was continuous 'alertness' from police who worked according to a fully-fledged approved operational plan.