Tatane cop testifies on training

2012-05-15 22:49

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.

  • Sechaba30 - 2012-05-16 00:17

    Iyo , what a training, shame to Police Department on training police to use short guns on unarmed members of the community.

      Sean - 2012-05-16 00:42

      People can say what they want to , he attacked the cops . I do not blame the cops , I would have done the same ! It is obviously unfortunate that he died !

      Denise - 2012-05-16 09:49

      @Sean - Footage of the whole clip was shown on the e News Channel where the man was just verbally challenging the police while they were threatening the crowd with a water cannon telling the protesters to go away. He was unarmed and posed no threat to the police. He rescued a helpless old man from being sprayed down by a water cannon. He took his shirt off to draw attention away from the old man, telling the police to rather spray him. The cops then attacked him. He was first attacked by a cop with a batton, then he started fighting back... THEN SABC cut the clip in where you see him fighting the cop. The SABC news propaganda make it look like he was violent to begin with, leaving out the beginning. Anybody with sense will recognise brutal, excessive force by ill-disciplined cops. The visuals of the chilling and sad scene show how the mob of armed policemen cornered Tatane, striking him with their batons and kicking him in an assault that lasted for a few minutes. Tatane was a school teacher, a councilor, a husband and father of one child, a role model in his poor community where he was a volunteer teacher helping learners to improve their marks in Science, Math and Afrikaans. His crime? — he died because he wanted a better deal for his community because he wanted his government to do its job! He was killed, possibly murdered, by the system that is meant to protect him. You decide -

  • Kenny Bianco - 2012-05-16 06:19

    That const. thinks he is saving his skin, there's no training like that in the police, not even for security guards

  • madala.moses1 - 2012-05-16 06:48

    Based on de story is shows dat the way policed are trained must be reviewed cause someone lost his life cause de police will not deal with de situation only thing de know and are best is abusing tax payers vehicle and bribe klaar

      Wally Walters - 2012-05-16 07:31

      they call them kitskonstabels

  • Marvel Mushavhela - 2012-05-16 07:31

    @Sean. How do you post a comment like that prior the completion of the case. Surely you aren't even qualified to make such an execution. Everything is still under the court of Law. We are talking about the sensitive issue here that includes the lost life. Be careful when you comment. His family is still grieving with tears everyday, he was a breadwinner. So use your heart and brain altogether.

  • Nkalimeng Nkopane - 2012-05-16 07:33

    im disappointed that he doesnt knw the name of the gun he was using, thats pathetic

      Msika - 2012-05-16 10:08

      @Nkadimeng Nkopane, there's a difference between a gun and ammunition. The article states "He could not identify the various types of ammunition used in shotguns" not gun.

  • Jay Moyo - 2012-05-16 07:37

    @Sean who do u blame?? they used excessive force. Cops are attacked by protesters all over the world but they dont kill unarmed protesters,they got shields and protective gear to protect themselves.They killed him they must face the law!!

  • Nkalimeng Nkopane - 2012-05-16 07:38

    u so heartless SEAN

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