Tatane cop testifies on training

2012-05-15 22:49

Court watches Ficksburg protest video

2012-04-26 09:27

A police video of the service delivery protests and the assault of slain protester Andries Tatane was shown in the Ficksburg Regional Court during the trial of eight Free State policemen accused of murdering Tatane. WATCH

Ficksburg - A Free State policeman had three weeks crowd management training in 2008 before being used on protest duty, the Ficksburg Regional Court heard on Tuesday.

Seven public order officers each face murder and assault charges for allegedly killing Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane during a march against poor service delivery in the Setsoto local municipality on 13 April 2011.

State witness Constable Kabelo Pule identified four of the seven policemen in police videos shown in court.

Replying to questions by State prosecutor Celeste Ferris, Pule said he saw Tatane only when he passed the scene to do other duties. At the time, Tatane's hands were on his chest and he was bleeding.


After identifying some of the accused in the videos, Pule told the court he had received three weeks training in crowd management. He joined the police in 2006.

Pule told regional Magistrate Hein van Niekerk that many of the accused received the same training.

He said it took place at Addo in the Eastern Cape, in 2008, and included the use of a shotgun to disperse a crowd.

"If a person used it, you aimed at the group and shot 45 degrees to their feet."

He received no instruction on the distance at which the shotgun should be used, but said it was not meant to be used on a single person, as was shown in the police video.

Pule said he and his colleagues had also received training in the handling of a tonfa (a police baton) and a shield.

Not handled correctly

When Ferris asked him whether the other officers had used their batons correctly, he said they had not.

He testified that there was a special technique for using a baton to arrest someone, and that it was not supposed to be used to hit a person in the way shown in the videos.

Describing the scene of Tatane's scuffle with police, Pule submitted that the police officers in the video did not handle the incident correctly.

Under cross-examination, Pule said the crowd management training included only the shotgun, the baton, stun-grenades and how to climb in and out of an Nyala vehicle.

The shotgun training included taking apart and assembling the shotgun, how to load it and its use in a group situation.


Pule was unable to tell the court why it was necessary to aim at a 45 degree angle at the feet of the group when firing the shotgun.

He submitted that it was best to ask the question of the experts who trained them. All he knew was that it was a way to disperse a crowd.

He could not identify the various types of ammunition used in shotguns, and indicated that he had received training in only one kind of ammunition, but did not know its name.

Regarding the baton training, Pule could remember only one move in the handling of a baton in crowd management.

When the defence counsel pushed him further to explain aspects of baton training, he said he would need his "training books" to get more answers.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.
Read more on:    andries tatane  |  bloemfontein  |  protests

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