Senior cop admits deployment strategy could be ‘factor’ in shooting of protesters

2014-02-05 12:46

The increased number of police officers who are not part of public order policing units and are dispatched to handle protests may play a role in the shooting of protesters by police.

This is according to deputy provincial commissioner in Gauteng Major General Tebello Mosikili, who addressed the media at a press briefing in Joburg today.

Mosikili said the police needed more capacity to deal with protests and they had started to dispatch non-public order police (POP) officers to assist in problem areas.

“The POP members that are trained know how to act and how to react and know how to differentiate between using live ammunition or rubber bullets. But because we have found ourselves stretched, we are now letting other members who are not necessarily POP-trained members to come and assist.”

Mosikili did not want to comment specifically on recent protests but she said the shooting and alleged killing of protesters by police officers might be because of the increased number of non-POP members who are dispatched to handle protests.

“I’m not saying this is the reason but it might be a factor,” said Mosikili.

Acting provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba said protests were a result of a lack of service delivery, adding that “the relationship between the Gauteng province police and the public is sound”.

He said he was very comfortable with the training and the skills of the SAPS. “South Africans need to realise what the SAPS is currently confronting. There isn’t a book to tell them how to deal with such a situation, they have to test the situation by experience.”

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