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Parliament, Cape Town - There is no need for a commission of inquiry into police brutality because the abuses are isolated, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.
“The incidents that we all condemn are very few,” Zuma said in response to a question from the Democratic Alliance in the National Assembly.
“It does not for now require a commission to investigate that. I don't think it does. Somebody else might think it does, because there are very specific measures that the minister and the department are taking to deal with these kind of issues.”
He said the policemen who had broken the law had been charged or jailed.
“Those who violate the law: actions have been taken. They're in prison. They're being charged. I don't think the situation as I see it warrants a commission of inquiry.”
Zuma was asked by Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota whether the government was taking steps to address the “disproportionate use of force by agencies of the state”.
He replied that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa had acted concretely to strengthen civilian oversight over the police, including strengthening the watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
“Operationally, the minister of police is ensuring that disciplinary processes and procedures are effective in dealing with both criminality and corruption within the service.”
Mthethwa faced calls to resign earlier this month after the death of Mozambican Mido Macia in police custody on the East Rand, allegedly after being dragged behind a police van and severely beaten.
Two warrant officers and six constables face murder charges relating to his death.
Zuma said most police officers respected the law.
“The vast majority work within the law in performing their difficult task.”
He also rejected opposition suggestions that the fact that the police had a civilian commissioner in Riah Phiyega was compromising operations, and that inadequately untrained units were dispatched to contain crowds.
“The commissioner does not deal with operations. (She) has a range of well-trained policemen and women under the commission who know exactly what to do.”
Zuma suggested that the question related to the Marikana shooting and said the commission of inquiry into the death of 34
miners would reveal what had happened in the North West town.
Phiyega was criticised this week for defending the police's use of force in a statement to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, while admitting that she was not aware of the “specifics” of police's conduct during their fatal clash with striking miners. - Sapa