Johannesburg - The killing of two protesters by police in Mothutlung in Brits, North West, is an outrage, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said on Tuesday.
Citizens expected lessons would have been learned and remedial action taken after the killing of Andries Tatane in April 2011, the Marikana shootings in August 2012, and the killing of Mido Macio in Daveyton in February 2013, Casac said in a statement.
“So far no one has been held to account for the killings of Tatane, Macio, and the dead of Marikana. The failure to act against the perpetrators of these killings will only serve to undermine respect for the rule of law.”
Residents of Mothutlung, in Brits, started protesting on Sunday afternoon about a water shortage.
The police were called to monitor them after they barricaded a road with burning tyres.
There was an altercation between protesters and the police, during which two protesters were shot dead on Monday.
Casac said despite claims by police that a culture of impunity did not permeate the service, they had seen no evidence of a change in the way public order policing was conducted.
“It appears that a policy of maximum force is prevalent within the SAPS, a view that Casac outlined in its written submission to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry (into the Marikana shootings),” Casac chairman Sipho Pityana said.
The obfuscation of police officials testifying before the Farlam Commission strengthened the perception the police were not prepared to accept responsibility for their actions and be formally held accountable.
Casac said the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) published a report on Tatane's death in October 2012, but the recommendations contained within the report appeared to have been ignored by the police.
Recommendations included that police improve training related to managing and regulating gatherings, that the police with the SAHRC develop a training manual for the public riot unit, and that police actively engage with communities where protests took place.
“The Minister of Police 1/8Nathi Mthethwa 3/8 must urgently clarify the position of the SAPS with regard to the circumstances when live ammunition may be used,” Casac said.
He should also state what measures had been put in place to ensure that the constitutional rights of the public were respected by police.