Police bought pepper spray before tragedy

2012-09-03 10:09

Johannesburg - The police authorised the purchase of nearly 90 000 cans of non-lethal pepper spray the day before the Marikana shootings, The Star reported on Monday.

Less than three weeks after the shootings the police were buying pepper spray, riot shields and basic legal textbooks.

According to the report the list consisted of 87 905 cans of pepper spray which is a year's supply, 61 000 pouches for the pepper spray, 1 953 riot shields and 2 500 copies of Applied Law for Police Officials.

The shootings on August 16, in which police opened fire on striking workers gathered on a hill near Lonmin's Marikana mine, in the North West, killing 34 of them and wounding 78, highlighted the need for non-lethal options for controlling and dispersing armed and angry crowds.

The pepper spray specifications were revised in April this year and signed off by a brigadier on August 15.

"The pepper spray must be non-flammable, ozone-friendly and of food grade," state the specifications.
"No permanent harm shall be caused by the contents under normal use."

At Marikana, police used lethal weapons, contrary to standing orders on dealings with crowds, which emphasise the need for negotiations, forbid the use of guns and sharp ammunition, and allow rubber bullets only in "extreme circumstances". Common-law principles of self-defence are not affected by those orders.

Police have declined to comment on anything related to Marikana.

  • Jason - 2012-09-03 10:20

    Here we go again!!! Im sorry but im not going to use Pepper Spay (which is a close range non lethal deterrent)while a guy is charging at me with a panga. From me you will get a bullet. Its about time South Africans learnt to behave and I still stand behind the Cops on this one.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-09-03 10:25

      So far I agree, and this is confirmed in the last line of the article: "Common-law principles of self-defence are not affected by those orders".

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-09-03 10:36

      Hao Jason, the pepper spray is not for you but for the police. if you are from SAPS then i would understand your cry regarding this article. You may use your gun if need be, as long as you can dance to the legal music as well.

      hermann.hanekom - 2012-09-03 10:38

      Pepper spray, batons and shields work well as instruments for crowd control - yes in civilised countries, but this Africa and muti formulas!! I also still stand behind SAPS that is eventually going to be the fall guy. I must, however, point out that the police should first have fire a volley over the strikers heads as a warning deterrent, although I doubt that it would have had any effect on the muti infected strikers. - 2012-09-03 10:39

      "...Common-law principles of self-defence are not affected by those orders...." This last line speaks volumes...

      Jason - 2012-09-03 10:42

      @Hermann, Im sorry but a volley over their heads??? Are you serious? and where will those rounds land? What goes up must come down.

      rodney.overes - 2012-09-03 10:55

      The pepper spray must be non-flammable, ozone-friendly and of food grade,so it is food grade then u can eat it, ad show me how it stops a Panga, Spear or sharpened metal pipe

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-09-03 11:18

      I agree. You don't draw a pepper can in a panga and spear fight!

      Desilusionada - 2012-09-03 12:00

      "Police bought pepper spray before tragedy" As usual, misleading and incorrect. "The police authorised the purchase ...... the day before the Marikana shootings." The act of buying is the transfer of money (usually) in exchange for the promise to deliver at a certain date, if the process of authorisation took place first? Or does the Star imply that the Police already had the pepper spray delivered, then paid and then the transaction was authorised? BTW, those that scored all the political points about the so-called CS-gas manufacturing issue have yet to make a statement. Such as well at least they did not use CS............

      dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-03 12:10

      Bullet is a brilliant idea if you are going to be able to live with the consequences of getting attacked by relatives of your victim when you get home or be arrested and lose your job and firearm licence.Find a new home in a sun-free place.

      gift.mushi.9 - 2012-09-03 14:30

      All white fellows in this forum are urged and warned not to comment anymore regarding Marikana issues because their comments are biased, blinded by anger, hate and Vendetta.

  • paul.c.wadsworth - 2012-09-03 10:24

    What happened to buying as and when required not a whole years supply???

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-09-03 10:35

      @ Paul, could it be that its cheaper to buy in bulk? just logic econimics to me....!

  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-09-03 10:27

    I wanted to comment something about pepper only being useful in non violent protests. But I just realised that I am saturated on all this Lonmin mine popcorn drama.

  • mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-09-03 10:28

    Hao Jason, the pepper spray is not for you but for the police. if you are from SAPS then i would understand your cry regarding this article. You may use your gun if need be, as long as you can dance to the legal music as well. @ Paul, could it be that its cheaper to buy in bulk? just logic econimics to me....!

      Jason - 2012-09-03 10:36

      I spent nine and half years in the reserve Police so I understand a little of what the guys go through. I also know how effective pepper spray is or is not! And it is certainly no use when facing an armed crowd. Pepper Spray is used when dealing with a single attacker and you are multiple police, or a guy who is resisting arrest. Not against armed illegal protesters, who I might ad had been repeatedly asked to leave the area..............Like I said, South Africans need to behave themselves.

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-09-03 11:15

      As much as i respect your point of view, i just dont understand why were the marikana crowds dealt like that. Rubber bullet might have dispursed the crowds. i Watched carte blanch last night and apparently many of the victims were shot at the back. that, to me is not self defence.

      Jason - 2012-09-03 11:20

      Im sure some of the shootings might be considered unjustifiable, I can only comment on what we saw in the footage! You must remember that 2 of these guys colleagues had been hacked to death earlier in the week. The miners were asked numerous times over a few days to leave as it was an illegal gathering. The police started using Rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowd, certain sections of the crowed opened fire on the police. The police responded with maximum force and some people died, 34 out of 4000. Like I said earlier South Africans need to learn how to behave themselves and we will not have these problems.

  • dirk.naude.12 - 2012-09-03 10:33

    Using pepper spray on a panga charging maniac will result in losing a limb. Firearms work better.

  • shaun.knoesen.9 - 2012-09-03 10:35

    Here`s an idea - why not buy the police paintball guns and arm them with pepperballs.... this story is getting ridiculous!

  • loo.steyn - 2012-09-03 10:37

    Would pepperspray have helped you reckon ?? In my experience if teargas dont work and rubber bullets dont work ( like in this case) ,,, pepperspray would have been best used as seasoning on food.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-09-03 10:47

      Pepper spray would not have made the slightest difference at all, and I'm wondering why it is even being reported on in the context of the Marikana tragedy.

      mariah.jansentshabalala - 2012-09-03 11:17

      @Loo, i wonder what experience you are referring to.....

  • bobo.jane.1 - 2012-09-03 10:38

    If anybody charges towards me with a panga I will blow his head off - Period. Instead you get dumbos who wanted the police to pamper those arch criminals with non lethal under arm spray...Please Police next time, arm yourselves with Enviroment friendly roll on...that will definitely stop a criminal in his tracks....:-)

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-09-03 10:38

    Stephen John Dickson It's one thing for the Govt. to be able to purchase things with tax payers money but it's entirely a different matter altogether when it comes to the afore said purchased items being correctly delivered to where they're needed thanks to ANC cadre incompetence...........bottom line.

  • luke.dekoker - 2012-09-03 10:47

    Very clever for the cops to buy all the stock!! this is to prevent fatboy and his clowns buying it to use at the December anc "get-together fight-feast-party".

  • graeme.aitken.545 - 2012-09-03 10:48

    Pepper Spray vs Panga...can we place bets on this competition ? Panga all the way. On the brighter is FOOD GRADE pepper spray, so if nothing else they can still eat the damn stuff....That's Non Violent isn't it ?

  • rodney.overes - 2012-09-03 10:54

    The pepper spray must be non-flammable, ozone-friendly and of food grade,so it is food grade then u can eat it, ad show me how it stops a Panga, Spear or sharpened metal pipe

  • VWhitepaw - 2012-09-03 11:00

    And next year... They are going to approve the use of tinned compress air... Because the armed, violent, attacking strikers eyes burned when they used pepper spray and multiple cops was injured. There would be photos posted everywhere of the red burned eyes of the poor innocent strikers. Come on now... When you take a lethal weapon to a strike/protest, you don't want a peaceful strike/protest. I heard some even had guns. So why to confusion about the lethal response. I don't think the police did everything they could have, but they sure are not the only ones to be blamed. The miners have a lot (If not a lot more) of blame for this on their side. Striking and protesting in this country is getting out of hand. It has become a national activity for violence and distraction rather than what its suppose to be. A show of grievances, peacefully.

  • ChronicDJ - 2012-09-03 11:02

    Everyone is going on about the excessive amount of pepper spray the cops bought, but what about the riot shields that would have definitely helped them. Did anyone see any cops using those?

  • athol.pearson - 2012-09-03 11:11

    we all saw how effective the non-lethal methods were in the london riots. the police action was justified. only concern now is that report by the daily maverick that they had on carte blanche last night......

  • samuelbowker - 2012-09-03 11:19

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-03 11:44

    All those who say well done to the police for what they did.I wish you could join the police force and shoot at people so that you will get a taste of what it feels like to be in their position right now.some of them have lost jobs and some have died because they used to think like by violence and die by violence.people will hunt you down and kill you if you kill their family might be in group spirita when you do it but you will go home alone.that is if the very law you break does not get you...the juror is not a police will go live in jail like all criminals if you think with your heart and not your brains.go for are there.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-09-03 12:01

      I wish you would join the police force so that in a few years time you would know what the hell you're talking about. Until then, you're just another ignorant noise maker amongst many, pretending to know it all whilst you in fact know very little, and understand even less.

      dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-03 12:44

      BigChiefPlumbPudding:I am only talking from the legal way of doing things.If you want police with criminal minds I am not prepared to agree with you.Believe me when I say that police with good attitude and who do not terrorize people will always be protected by his or her own community.The job of the police is not to punish criminals but to catch criminals who will be punished in court.If police are right to kill criminals why do we say mob justice is wrong and why do police arrest the communities who carry it out.They always encourage us to catch criminals and call them.They never say the criminal is dangerous stone him.I remember I used to live in Zenzele Skwala in Daveyton years ago and people used to discharge guns day and night.We caught a guy with a gun which had a home made silencer with our bare hands,we had formed a group that patroled the streets.We were six and we called the police.they could not believe us and we were suspected of having pointed a gun at the guy.Criminals moved away to other places and gun noise is hardly heard in that place even now? why the police could not do it?.I am just highlighting to you how easy it should be for them to catch a criminal if they do not boast with guns and make criminals feel like they are in danger of being killed.Ever wondered why community volunteers who patrol streets are hardly killed? Attitude and a streetwise, but not violent.Get into the heart of the criminal.That means? do not rush to arrest.strategy.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-09-03 11:48

    SAPS in this case YES. You have my support.I am also not going to stand still if they start shooting out of the crowd in which you could see the bullets landing in front of the police's feet, while moving backwards. So if the police did not move, how many of them would have been dead? But the police are suppose to respond with rubber bullets and pepper spray? You can only defend yourself against an attacker during an ongoing/imminent attack. The police were already being attacked, therefor they had the right to defend themselves. standing orders on dealings with crowds, which emphasise the need for negotiations. The police had already negotiated at that point BEFORE the attack, therefor the standing order has no more relevant to this case, as they had already done all they could. As for the people who were shot in the back? It can only mean that they were shot be their own (striking miners), as when I looked at the video, the police were busy retracting all the time during the shooting. If the police were attacking, they would have moved forward and not backwards. And another thing: If the regulations of certain items pertaining to certain "tools" that you can use, were only signed of by the Brigidier on the 15th of August, then that did not give the station enough time to order what were required. On a yearly basis police stations get new recruits, but you are also not going to buy if something is busy changing. That will really be a waste of money.

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-09-03 13:08

    Criminals don't bring pepper spray and they have no respect for the 'blue' uniform. I want to see the body guards and cops in the blue light brigade relying on pepper spray - what a joke.

  • tu.centsworth.9 - 2012-09-03 14:28

    Atleast they planned ahead, that can not be said for most other government departments....

  • pages:
  • 1