Free State - The police used excessive force on Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane resulting in his injuries and subsequent death, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Wednesday.

“The respondents [the police] neglected provisions of the Gatherings Act by using excessive force, resulting in the injury and death of the protester,” said commissioner Danny Titus.

The SAHRC investigated Tatane's death, during a protest in Ficksburg in April 2011, followed a complaint by the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution.

It found that the police were not suitably equipped to quell public disorder during the protest and had failed to devise a plan to regulate and monitor the protest.

It also found that the police failed to authorise a suitably qualified and experienced member to represent them at consultations or negotiations during the protest.

“If a suitably qualified person had been chosen, such a person would have foreseen that the demonstration would degenerate into violence and prepared for that eventuality,” said SAHRC said.

It recommended the improvement of police training on managing and regulating public gatherings; the development of a training manual for the police's Public Riot Act; and a six-monthly report by the ministries of police and co-operative governance on measures to address the phenomenon of increasingly violent protests.

The findings had been forwarded to the police. - Sapa