Brutality by police ‘not isolated’(29.4.2011)
By Steven Tau
President Jacob Zuma yesterday condemned incidents of police brutality. Addressing journalists in Johannesburg, Zuma expressed concern at the way some of the country’s police officers have behaved during recent service delivery protests.
“As government we have said this before, and we are concerned because we do not want to see a culture of fear among protesterswho have a right to demonstrate. “There has to be public faith in our police,” he said.
Specialist researcher at the Centre for the Study and Violence and Reconciliation David Bruce does not believe incidents of police brutality are isolated in the country.
He was responding to a statement made by National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele’s spokesman, Nonkululeko Mbatha, yesterday saying the incidents were isolated.
“It will be important for us to treat those as isolated incidents instead of bringing them into one issue and cloud the matter around the issue of police brutality, |” she said to the SABC.
She was responding to several reports of police assaulting or killing unarmed civilians. Speaking to The Citizen, Bruce said statistics released by the Independent Complaints Directorate(ICD) for the 2009/2010 financial year, indicated that 500 people had been killed as a result of both legitimate and illegitimate shootings by the police.
“It also indicatesthat the highest proportion of these killings were from KwaZulu-Natal.“ A leadership that is committed to ensuring that our police officers uphold the law is needed in order to deal with this matter,” Bruce said.
He also condemned the latest incident of alleged police bruitality in Ekurhuleni. Jeannette Odendaal was shot and killed, allegedly by a police officer,outside the Kempton Park PoliceStation on Tuesday night.