Premier 'saddened' by 4th protest death

Johannesburg - North West Premier Thandi Modise says she is "saddened" by the death of a fourth person following recent violent clashes over access to water near Brits.

North West police confirmed on Monday that a fourth person had died.

"It was a 36-year-old man. He died yesterday," said Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone.

"We don't know what kind of injuries he sustained [during the clashes]."

Mokgwabone was unable to provide further information.

ICU

Jacaranda FM News quoted Damonsville community leader Paul Hendricks as saying: "He was shot in the head with live ammunition and taken to Ga-Rankuwa hospital where the bullet was removed".

According to SABC radio news, the man spent seven days in the intensive care unit of the hospital. His family confirmed the death.

Three others who were killed during the service delivery protest in Mothutlung were buried at the weekend.

Two of the protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police.

Another man died after falling out of a moving police vehicle in a bid to escape, according to police.

Investigation

Modise called for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to expedite its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal shootings.

"We will continue to give our support until the investigations are completed to ensure that the families find closure," she said.

“We are saddened by the [fourth] death and wish to convey our condolences to the family that lost their loved one."

'Increasing police brutality'

The Right2Know campaign said Mothutlung was "a symptom" of increasing police brutality and growing attacks on the right to protest.

"Too often media, civil society and government pay attention to the plight of the poor only once streets are barricaded and property destroyed," it said.

"What is ignored is [that] these are often the last act in long-simmering tensions that have no other avenue for ventilation."

The group said there was a need to address police violence.

"The Right2Know campaign supports calls made by various organisations to demilitarise the police, as we believe that this is driving greater police violence, including against protesters," it said.

"The increased use of paramilitary units to supplement protest policing is a case in point, as these units are mandated to use maximum force, rather than minimum force, as the public order police are."

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