Policing at march inadequate: DA

2012-05-17 20:33

Johannesburg - Tuesday's DA march to Cosatu House suffered from a lack of adequate public order policing and protection, the party said on Thursday.

The police must explain why more public order police were not at the scene, why Cosatu supporters were not dispersed - as their demonstration was illegal - and whether any threat assessment had been conducted prior to the march, Democratic Alliance spokesperson Kate Lorimer said.

She had written to the police requesting a meeting with the acting commissioner to discuss what went wrong and how similar situations could be avoided in future.

"It is imperative that the SA Police Service explain why they did not uphold the legal right of the DA to march," she said.

Political pressure

"Did political pressure influence their behaviour?"

In her letter, Lorimer complained that the lack of public order policing preparedness and protection was unacceptable.

There had clearly been no communication between the SAPS and the Johannesburg metropolitan police department (JMPD) regarding the march, she said.

"The two were badly organised, and seriously under-manned and under-resourced."

It was the job of the police to uphold the law, and the DA had had a legal right to march.


"Over and over again I heard our DA marchers saying they would never trust the police again, as the SAPS were clearly biased towards Cosatu," she said.

"It is understandable that they came to this conclusion."

JMPD spokesperson Inspector Edna Mamonyane said crowd control was the responsibility of SAPS.

The metropolitan police were responsible for traffic control.

SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Neville Malila said: "The provincial office has not received a request for a meeting as yet."

Malila did not want to pre-empt any discussion that would take place later.

The DA march on Tuesday, headed by leader Helen Zille, youth leader Makashule Gana, parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane, began peacefully.


But as the protesters turned into Jorissen Street in Braamfontein they were met by toyi-toying Cosatu members moving down the street from Cosatu's offices, opposite the Joburg Theatre.

For an hour, the two groups traded insults with a cordon of police keeping them apart.

When rocks and pieces of cement were thrown into the crowd during Zille's speech and a DA member on the VIP truck was seriously injured, the DA retreated to Jan Smuts Avenue.

Cosatu members chased DA supporters and police had their hands full trying to control groups intent on hounding the blue-shirted protesters out the area.

Police eventually sprayed teargas and fired a high-pressure water gun to break up the Cosatu crowd.

Several car windows were smashed and at least two people were injured by flying bricks and rocks.

  • Peter - 2012-05-17 20:49

    See ANC/Cosatu supporters, it was the SAPS fault that people were injured. Send your medical bills to the government, oh wait never mind they cant even put medicine in hospitals or books in school for kids

      Siyaz - 2012-05-17 21:05

      Yeah , act like children and go ahead and blame it on the cops

      Peter - 2012-05-17 21:32

      @Siyaz - you realize i was being sarcastic right?... It was obviously Cosatu's fault in the first place, wouldnt have needed cops otherwise

      TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-05-17 21:47


  • Ad - 2012-05-17 20:56

    Cosatu said this was going to happen..Police had no preventative measures to protect the legal marchers. Sounds bias to me!!

  • Sharon - 2012-05-17 21:01

    They certainly knew that there could be trouble. Maybe crowd control is not their strongest point, but to be honest, that would be a lame excuse. There should have been better control.

  • daleinn - 2012-05-17 21:09

    Isnt it time Political parties , uses common sense before they take people to the streets, and endanger their lives for a cause. Wasnt the spelling on the wall that , after going through all the paperwork, that there was lack of adequate police protection for the DA marchers. Has no party learnt from the recent ANCYl march in joburg , where supporters ran on the loose , causing mayhem and damage? This time it was COSATU , when will ANC have their turn, or will the illusive 3rd force come into play of politics , as in the past? are the people of this country so far off napping, that government and politicians take us for granted. Rise up , speak up , let your voices be heard. The media is our voice our tool , we are powerful without resorting to low handed , uncoothed tactics , disrespectful to peoples rights , we do not have to strike a rock to make our voices heard!!!!

      colin.dovey - 2012-05-17 21:52

      In Braamfontein, there was once a slogan painted on a wall: "Free Beer tomorrow" - so what happened when I went there the very next day? The sign said: "Free Beer tomorrow" - the lesson for us in SA? Nothing will change unless we all wipe the slate clean, and start again...

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-18 06:18

      From a previous ancyl statement, sounds like the same hooligans were also involved in this coastu illegal march! The problem is that by not doing this one shows fear in front of a bullying regime. One should not feel fearful, and sometimes blood needs to run to make a point! Otherwise you keep shouting from the top of your lungs to a deaf government! Eventually the shout becomes a punch in the guts of the government that does not listen to its people. Revolution is on its way if you'd ask me... I have been there before in my own country! I can hear the rumbbling noises becoming louder... The problem here is that it will now happen in AFRICA! here is a less likely that a positive outcome will come out! Normally in africa one has a worse leader coming out! Look at zim, and central africa..!

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-05-17 21:21

    If you have the heads of the police force...behaving badly and not setting a disciplined and corporal style which requires the very best of do you expect those Policemen on the street to show any form of the correct communication to get the crowd under control.

  • Carlito - 2012-05-17 22:16

    Doesnt the DA know that here in Africa violence is the only acceptable language think of the countless African states were violence is used to solve elematry problems. The only thing Africa has on its mind is Theft, Sex and Violence. Africans blame everthing but themselves. It reminds me of tests made on foxes the darker ones were wild and the lighter ones were tame go figure. But T.I.A

      Jo - 2012-05-17 23:10

      Don't make this a race thing! It was Cosatu attacking DA marchers! Nothing to do with race, more to do with morals.

  • stephen.steyn.12 - 2012-05-18 15:03

    Living in Dubai I still regularly follow News24. And I read the boring everyday headlines of corruption, police fraud,and the out of control crime which is out of control. And the fatcats filling up their pockets with YOUR taxpaying money. And here I thought that SA is a democratic country, the fight and struggle for all fellow South-Africans to be equal.I thought we all had freedom speech.Clearly this has not been the case.As a peaceful DA march standing up for the unemployment of the youth, was met with violence. There is one question I(my British, American, Australian and Emirati, friends and clients would like to ask: ANC(Jacob Zuma/Cosatu(Vavi)/ SA Communist party what exactly are your plans for this new South Africa ?(Does your party/government actually know what they are doing)? Corruption? Racketeering? Crime? Lack of basic service? Overcrowded prisons? and the list goes on and on etc ANC and Cosatu supporters, my brothers your own party that you are so dedicated to and would die for , is stealing your money, taking food of your table, depriving your youth of jobs and the most of important of all,they are taking away your safety, it is your human right to feel safe. A last word to our government none of your atrocities in the international world are going unnoticed.

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