Cop training in the spotlight after Marikana

Annelize van Wyk, Parliament’s police portfolio committee acting chairperson, says there is a need to reconsider the training of police and the equipment they use in the wake of yesterday’s Marikana shooting.

The confrontation between the police and Lonmin mineworkers yesterday afternoon ended with 35 protesters dead.

This brought the death toll to 45 since the industrial dispute broke out at the North West platinum mine.

Van Wyk said the committee would move forward its planned meeting with the SAPS’ Public Order Policing unit to discuss issues such as the Lonmin strike and violent service delivery protests.

The committee also supported calls for a commission of inquiry to be instituted, but wanted its scope to include developments at Lonmin over the past eight months.

“Playing any form of blame game at this stage would be irresponsible and insensitive. We need to have all facts before we pass judgment. We call on all commentators to respond in a sensitive and responsible manner and to refrain from making statements that could further entice violence and endanger more lives,” Van Wyk said.

She said the right to strike came with responsibilities, including legal conduct.

“In terms of the role of the police, we need to look at the training of police members, relevant equipment in relation to the level of violence they are confronted with, and the role of our intelligence sources in gathering and analysing information in time to prevent the development of protests to the level of violence we have seen,” she added.
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