What the experts say about racial profiling in South Africa

2013-07-31 00:00

GEORGINA Alexander, a researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), said that given the country’s demographics, black men were unfortunately targeted by police in criminal cases.

However, there was a need for greater sensitivity and better police training.

Alexander advised the Sithole family to lay a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.

Academic and peace monitor Mary de Haas said the incident was a manifestation of an apartheid mindset, “which when I think of it is still pretty prevalent in the police and shows itself in different ways”.

Institute for Security Studies director Johan Burger said there had not been much research so far in South Africa about racial profiling.

Such incidents were damaging to the image of the police.

Burger said a well-known police scientist, Professor David Bailey, was once asked how one would know whether the public had

confidence in the police.

He had replied that it was simple.

If parents could readily say to their children that if they were in trouble or needed help they should go to the police, that would be the measure.

“How many parents in South Africa today would be prepared to do that?” Burger asked.

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