The Portfolio Committee on Police has welcomed the findings and recommendation made by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after its probe into the death of Mr Andries Tatane.
“The increase in public unrest incidents is a cause for definite concern. These incidents increased from 971 in 2010/11 to 1 194 in 2011/12, which resulted mainly from factors such as labour disputes and dissatisfaction with service delivery,” said Ms Annelize van Wyk, Acting Chairperson of the Committee.
She added: “It is clear that incidents of this nature are increasing in number and nature, in that they are becoming increasingly violent. The South African Police Service (SAPS) must develop a definite plan of action to address these incidents and stabilise such as soon as possible to prevent escalation thereof.”
She further stated that the reasons for the increase in public unrest incidents needed to be investigated by relevant government departments and business in order to address the situation and reduce the frequency of the incidents.
Ms Van Wyk said the recruitment and training of public order police members was of paramount importance and must receive urgent attention, with focus on constitutional principles. “Police officers can no longer be allowed to use excessive force when stabilising public unrest incidents. It is against our Constitution and against our human rights culture,” she said.
Last year, the Portfolio Committee on Police received a comprehensive briefing by the SAPS on Public Order Policing. The interaction between the Committee and SAPS on how they deal with public unrest incidents will be given special attention and focus next year.