Union: Train police for public violence

2012-11-16 12:03

Johannesburg - Police officers should be trained properly to handle public violence and strikes that turn violent, SA Policing Union (Sapu) president Mpho Kwinika said on Friday.

"Members of the police force lack the required skills to handle public violence," Kwinika said in Pretoria at Sapu's central executive committee meeting.

"Police cannot be seen as the enemy of the people."

Kwinika said communities often used violence during protests and strikes to be heard by authorities.

He said the union was worried that not enough was being done to train police officers in crowd management.

In the Western Cape one person died during farmworker protests about wages and living conditions.

The protest started in De Doorns last week and had spread to 15 other towns by Wednesday.

The protests started with table grape harvesters, who wanted to be paid R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day.

Kwinika said violence like the shooting of 34 striking miners at Lonmin's mine in Marikana on August 16 caused people to lose faith in the police and their ability to protect them.

"It is important to turn around the tainted image of the police force," he said.

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega was expected to address the meeting.

  • michael.horton.566790 - 2012-11-16 12:12

    We need special units to combat protests... Especially because this is SA. Our protest are never peaceful because the ones protesting are savage thugs!!! I say we need to utilize our underutilized SADF for these type of incidents. Get them in and have them disperse the protesters aggressively (without lethal force offcourse!). They will think twice about protesting again!

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-16 13:12

      The training used to be excellent. But I do wonder if the Union realises that when a mass of people charge the police armed to the teeth then there is no other procedure/tactic but to shoot to save your own life. No amount of training can change this. Is it not more important to train the protesters not to become violent, and not to carry weapons? Is it not more important to pass Laws that prohibit weapons of any sort to be carried by anyone on strike or protesting. Do they not realise that herein lies the answer. - 2012-11-16 14:54

      They can't even be trained for normal duties WTF you people expect too much of these guys shame

  • Gary.desousa7 - 2012-11-16 12:16

    If the police have not been trained to handle the strikers/protesters please tell me just what they have been trained for as this should be part of a basic ongoing training programme?

  • rory.hewitt2 - 2012-11-16 12:19

    The new government decided to disband the Internal Stability Unit (riot squad) and in so doing manage to dilute that pool of knowledge to such an extent that we sit with the sort of panic reaction we saw at Rustenburg. If it aint broke, don't fix it!

  • pamela.jacobs.509 - 2012-11-16 12:25

    If the police haven't been trained for this then who has? Or is our government so ignorant that they really thought public protest will never turn violent, really? No wonder the police started shooting at Marikana, what else must they have done. When the law was passed that police can shoot to kill obviously it wasn't well thought through, never did Bheki Cele stop and think about the consequences (did we really expect him to). Shame it really is like Trevor Noah says, "You go that way, we will go the other way" and like Zuma says "Lets solve African problems the African way" like thats really working out you twat

      raath - 2012-11-16 12:54

      I wonder if the "African way" includes any vigilantism and any police office applying a knopkierie to the head of the protester...

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-16 12:26

    I agree the SAPS need more training. More time spent on the shooting range to inprove their aim, more time in the gym to build up strength in their batton arms etc.

      bradh.quaide - 2012-11-16 13:50

      Lol, what batons? They'll think it's dildos or something and these fatties will most probably try and eat it before swinging it at a protester! No these days it's straight to the shotguns and rubber bullets, using shields and batons are too much work.

  • unati.mtongana - 2012-11-16 12:53

    Poor police, you just happen to be blamed for just about everything although you have done nothing wrong. Police always try to stabilise situations

      bradh.quaide - 2012-11-16 13:53

      Jes they TRY, but they don't seem to be getting it right. They definitely need to be getting a bit more training, and maybe a little bit at the gym to. Stomach in chest out!

      bradh.quaide - 2012-11-16 13:54


  • raath - 2012-11-16 12:53

    We also need to PREVENT violent protests and strikes. Just not sure how, when it is ingrained in the strikers' nature...

  • nerina.keet - 2012-11-16 12:53

    There uused to be a special unit dealing with protests and marches, but someone decided to dismantle the unit. Currently there is just a view of these guys operarting from differant locations. The question remains... Why did they break up these units?

  • Eterni80 - 2012-11-16 12:54

    when I was in the cops, we were trained to handle riots and crowd control. seems nowadays the cops can barely read or write, never mind actually running after a suspect. giving today's cops automatic weapons is like putting out a fire with petrol.

  • daniel.machet - 2012-11-16 12:54

    How about COSATU stops training strikers in public violence... just a thought

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-16 13:13


  • bevan.carpenter.1 - 2012-11-16 12:59

    how about the unions be more proactive and stop their strikers becoming violent. passing the responsibilities, just like the rest of the government

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-16 13:14


  • bertus.pretorius.1 - 2012-11-16 12:59

    Train the police to handle our members - union.

  • hitting.thefan - 2012-11-16 13:12

    Yes they should but they should also train protesters to protest peacefully as is required by the constitution!

  • eland.snitbul - 2012-11-16 13:20

    Shouldnt this be a no brainer part of the job spec... Personally I feel in situations like Marikana/De Doorns the SADF should step up to the plate, would benefit both the SADF and the innocent people involved. The police force would probably first have to invest in weigh-less to improve the condition of the current policemen.

  • willem.dehaan.94 - 2012-11-16 13:30

    Surely there is no need for this? This is the NEW RSA where ALL the people are happy and contented and free and taken care of by THEIR government that fought and struggled and died so that they could be free and rule! So why the protest and the violence? Surely not against their OWN government as elected by them? I do not understand this at all. Did paradise then NOT come down as promised when Mandela took over in 1994?

  • bongohead.sipho - 2012-11-16 13:36

    Our police are heroes. Anybody who throws them with stones must be shot with rubber bullets. Any body who throws them with petrol bombs must be shot with lead bullets.

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-11-16 13:37

    I would have thought that would already be a big part of their training. Why isn't it?

  • Tello Moleko - 2012-11-16 13:43

    SAPU is loosing control,the cop himself cant handle protesters nd he is sitting in the office telling police to get training to handle people who threaten police life,as a cop what should have u done as police official,image cant save yo life,what about sec49 of cpa?

  • stefan.king.142 - 2012-11-16 13:46

    The police should not be "seen as the enemy of (law abiding) people", but should definitely be seen as the enemy by anybody violently breaking the law.

  • Tello Moleko - 2012-11-16 13:57

    pretorious did u train yo members to protest peaceful,not damage vehicles,damage shops nd steal nd throw object that may cause harm to police nd lastly not to prevent non strikers to work?if so police wont shoot them nd if not,police must shoot them.u know what police should do but u dont know what u should do

  • ZaelkrieJustinPayne - 2012-11-16 14:16

    I think everyone agrees that the standard for enlisting is too low and the training period for police officers is too short. But there is a much deeper problem and it is rooted within our national psyche. When someone or something doesn't agree we turn to anger and violence, this goes for both police and protesters. Instead of sitting down and coming up with a logical solution we play the blame game. Both sides are wrong but no one will admit it and the problem remains, why not work together instead of trying to push each other down. It seems everyone in the country has become a crab in the bucket that is our problems, we never fix anything just try find someone to drag down with us.

  • gembleton1 - 2012-11-16 14:19

    What a Freaking joke!!!! the Union is telling the police they need to be better trained against violent strikers, if the unions controlled their striking people and did not incite or condone the violence there would be no need for more training,

  • carolyn.myburgh - 2012-11-16 14:29

    I once saw a very effective technique which was used fire trucks moved towards an uruly mob and sprayed paint at them, then drove away later after the protest was dying down the police moved in and arrested all those covered in paint ( they could not say I was not there ) we should try that here

  • mmapula.ledwaba.5 - 2012-11-16 17:14

    I don't belief this! How can the same union that reprents interests of the police not belief that their members don't have enough trainining?What is the union doing to address that problem? Except for collecting membership fees?S

  • Thomas Bobby Swartz - 2012-11-16 17:49

    it's a contradicting statement that SAPU raised, they tend to imply that the training the South African Police Service members is receiving is inadequate. if the training is inadequate so the SAPS is a danger to the society.

  • cronje.fourie - 2012-11-17 22:21

    Oh please!So some dumb protester who acted violently and destroyed the property of a law abiding citizen got shot. YAY! Here is how you train the police...if you see a group of peacefull protesters remain calm...if you see kne or more armed or violent protesters warn them, fire a warning shot and next shoot them. See no more violent protesters and thus no violent protests. The constitution enshrines your right to PEACEFULL protest...not acting like barbarians.

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