The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) on Saturday called on police to exercise restraint during community protests. This follows the deaths of two Mpumalanga teenagers who were reportedly shot by a police officer during a march protesting against alleged corruption in Lekwa Local Municipality.
“Loss of lives, destruction of private as well as public properties should not occur when communities exercise their constitutional right to demand better services and or accountability,” highlighted SANCO National Spokesperson, Jabu Mahlangu in condemning the use of live ammunition in crowd management operations.
Mahlangu said that police are in terms of the National Instruction(NI) for Public Order Policing required to display the highest degree of tolerance during community protests.
“In this case, the independent police investigation directorate(ipid) must as per the charge we have laid probe the circumstances surrounding the shooting including the action of the police officer who shot 16-year-old Tshepo Dube and a 14 year old. The commanding officer who was overseeing the operation also has to be held accountable,” he emphasised.
He underscored that the NI prescribes a process of ongoing negotiation, building trust and conflict resolution with the group being “managed”.
“The prescription is in line with the community policing approach adopted by the democratic state to uphold the culture of human rights,” he added.