Police must explain live ammunition use: DA

By Drum Digital
23 January 2013

Police need to explain why live ammunition was used during a protest by Zamdela residents, the DA said on Wednesday.

"While the situation was volatile and violent in Sasolburg, the use of live ammunition to deal with protests is unacceptable. Marikana is a testament to this," Democratic Alliance Free State leader Patricia Kopane said in a statement.

"The DA demands answers from Free State police commissioner Khela Sithole on the firing of live ammunition yesterday."

A man was shot dead on Tuesday, allegedly by police, when protesters tried to attack the local police station. He died on his way to hospital.

Free State police said earlier: "In an attempt to protect the property and the lives of police members, shots were fired at an angry mob that was attacking the police station."

Residents started protesting on Sunday in opposition to the proposed merger, in 2016, of the Matsimaholo municipality in Sasolburg with the Ngwathe municipality, under which Parys falls.

Co-operative Governance and Public Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi announced on Tuesday that the merger would not immediately go ahead.

Two people were killed and nine injured on Tuesday.

A total of 259 people have been arrested since the start of the protest.

The Inkatha Freedom Party said the government was behaving like the apartheid regime.

"It is very unfortunate that the ANC government has mastered the behaviour patterns of the apartheid government, in that they only react to people's grievances when there is pressure emanating from violence and chaos," IFP deputy national spokesman Joshua Mazibuko said in a statement.

"A responsible government would not have waited until there was loss of life and people's hard-earned properties before taking a decision."

He said the government had failed to "read the mood" of the residents and should not have decided to merge the municipalities.

-by Sapa

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