- Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole spoke on the use of rubber bullets at a briefing
- Sitole stated that police would not stop using it but proper training will now be started for the utilisation of the bullets
- Cele spoke about how police handling of crowds have changed since the Marikana Mine tragedy
Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole revealed that police will not stop using rubber bullets to disperse crowds but the South African Police Services (SAPS) will be reviewing the way protests are handled.
Sitole made the statement during a briefing on the release of a report on both policing and crowd control. The Commissioner stated that although it may be virtually impossible to completely ban the use of rubber bullets, officers will now be trained 'better' on when and how to use it.
Police Minister Bheki Cele on the other hand, spoke about the Marikana Mine tragedy. Cele revealed that over R176 million has been paid to families of those who were killed during the tragedy.
SABC News reported that Cele said that the tragedy at Marikana Mine where 34 miners died changed the way police officers control violent crowds. The recent student protests which caused unrest and resulted in the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba have shown a spotlight on how police manage crowds.
Students have accused police officers of being heavy-handed during the protests against financial exclusive.
A report by EWN stated that Sitole spoke about new guidelines being drawn up. Sitole confirmed that the use of rubber bullets cannot be stopped but the standard operational procedure will be changed.
Sitole added that a new national instruction on how rubber bullets should be used will be issued.
Previously, Briefly.co.za reported that Mthokozisi Ntumba's memorial was underway as the accused made their first court appearance. Tshepiso Kekana, Cidraas Motseothata, Madimetja Legodi and Victor Mohammed covered their faces in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
The officers were all from the public order policing unit and killed Ntumba with rubber bullets. The presiding magistrate is seeing to charges of defeating the ends of justice, attempted murder as well as murder at the court.
In other news about Ntumba, Cele called the 35-year-old's death both "inexcusable" and "unacceptable".
Cele was heard telling this to journalists after he visited the young man's family at their Kempton Park home yesterday. He also said that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) would need cooperation from everyone involved in the case, including Ntumba's family.
Ntumba was married with three children, the youngest child being under one year old, and had just completed his Master's degree while working at the Department of Human Settlements when he was gunned down by a rubber bullet, allegedly shot by police officers trying to disperse the crowd of protestors outside of the Wits medical centre.
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