A lack of police resources contributed to the deadly July unrest, says suspended national police commissioner Khehla Sitole.
He was appearing before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday to testify on the police’s apparent paralysis during the violence, which resulted in more than 350 people being killed and caused damage estimated at R50 billion.
The purpose of Monday’s hearing was to examine the role played by law enforcement agencies before, during and after the unrest.
Questions posed were linked to the cause of apparent lapses by state security agencies, particularly the SAPS, and the role of private security companies during the unrest.
Sitole said that the lack of police capacity was due to budget constraints within the police force.
However, should there be another episode of unrest, he believed the team would be geared up.
“It will depend on the modus operandi approach, but from the readiness of the organisation I have established an operationalise [sic] and modus operandi centre so that we know and understand the modus operandi.
“What I can add to the recent unrest is that it was not only a physical process, but there was also the use of technology, which lifted the modus operandi to another level. I think we also were focusing on the enhancement of the activation plan,” he said.
Sitole explained that the activation plan has been extended to link the broader security forces, which will include force multipliers in the form of metros working with police.
“We have also decided to enhance the reservists capacity, to complement the force-multiplier approach.
“The migration of the force-multiplier approach is being enhanced. With all these efforts at the present moment, we would have enough resources to intensify the capacity of collection and enhance on the proactive side of intelligence,” he said.
He said that from the way the unrest unfolded, it was clear it was a planned gathering with an unpredicted modus operandi.