Poor SAPS crowd management puts lives at risk – Michael Shackleton

DA MPL says police not properly trained to deal with crowd management

Innocent lives and livelihoods at risk with SAPS not properly trained to deal with crowd management

12 August 2021

The lives and livelihoods of many South Africans were put at great risk when the South African Police Service (SAPS) failed to curb the widespread incidents of looting, violence, and social unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal because they are not properly trained to deal with crowd management.

This is a clear indication of why looting continued in their presence and they did nothing to intervene and ensure the safety of people and their businesses.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in an oral reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, there were volumes of people looting and simultaneous attacks in different areas, yet the police are not properly trained to deal with crowd management.

MEC Mazibuko stated that 1947 arrests were made in Gauteng during the spate of looting and civil unrest. Of these arrests, 1224 dockets were prepared and referred for prosecution while others are still under investigation.

The DA’s Gauteng Community Safety Oversight Bill is the only solution to improve police intelligence, to fight and prevent crime, and to ensure that the violent unrest and looting do not happen again in our province.

For the longest time, the DA has been calling for a total reform of the SAPS to ensure that there are honest and dedicated police officers committed to serving our communities. We have been calling for the following: boosting SAPS numbers by increasing the number of operational SAPS and volunteer corps, ensure that new SAPS members are appropriately trained, improve recruitment practices, and ensure adequate resources for SAPS.

Had the current government listened to the DAs call, this violence and looting could have been curbed before causing severe damages. We will continue to push for the adoption of our Gauteng Community Safety Oversight Bill across party lines in the interest of the safety of our province, as it is the only viable solution of ensuring a safe and secure Gauteng. Safety is an issue that affects us all as no-one can have freedom while they live in fear.

We will continue to put pressure on MEC Mazibuko to liaise with her national counterpart Minister of Police, Bheki Cele to ensure that more police are employed, that they are adequately resourced and continuously trained for better safety and security of the residents of Gauteng.

Issued by Michael Shackleton, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety, 12 August 2021