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LETTER: Police have flouted both openness and responsiveness

Both demilitarisation and the implementation of the panel report are long overdue

11 March 2021 – 18:31 https://spkt.io/e/1650824

The trigger-happiness of the police personnel tasked with crowd control or, as they prefer to call it, “public order policing”, caused the Farlam inquiry into the shootings at Marikana in 2012 to make various recommendations, all of which have been accepted and few (if any) of which have been implemented.

A panel of experts convened at the behest of those recommendations has prepared a 400 page report on proper crowd control. The report has yet to receive public scrutiny due to the unaccountable unwillingness of the police management to share it. This concealment is possibly attributable to the failure of the police to take to heart, follow or even attempt to implement, the recommendations made by the panel. Openness and responsiveness, both foundational values, have been flouted.

An urgent recommendation of the commission (and the National Development Plan) that the police be demilitarised has been ignored by the police, the executive and the legislature.

Parliamentary oversight of these matters has been suboptimal. Both demilitarisation and the implementation of the panel report are long overdue. The police portfolio committee in the National Assembly must now insist that both take place forthwith, before more innocent civilians are caught in a fusillade unleashed by ill-disciplined and poorly trained police, as occurred in Braamfontein on March 10.

Police brutality is unacceptable.

Paul Hoffman, SC, Accountability Now

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