The violence which led to the death of Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane was “shocking, unjustified and disproportionate”, the Law Society of SA (LSSA) said on Friday.
“By all accounts Mr Tatane, who was part of a group protesting against the lack of service delivery in the town, posed no threat to the police,” LSSA leaders Nano Matlala and Praveen Sham said in a statement.
Tatane was a member of the Congress of the People and Ward 14 candidate for the May 18 local government elections in Meqheleng, Ficksburg in the eastern Free State.
He was killed in the town on Wednesday, allegedly after being hit by a rubber bullet and being beaten by the police. The incident was broadcast on SABC news that night.
The alleged police brutality has since been widely condemned by political parties, trade unions and civil society.
The society has offered to help Tatane’s family explore all legal remedies open to them, including instituting a claim against the police minister.
“The LSSA calls on the Independent Complaints Directorate, the minister and the Ficksburg local authority to investigate the incident speedily,including the holding of an inquest. No stone must be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book.
“As long as previously marginalised and dispossessed communities continue to live in dire poverty, the increasing disillusionment with regard to poor or non-existent service delivery will, inevitably, lead to protests.”
The LSSA believed it was within the community’s rights to demand that the Constitution be respected in relation to adequate housing, human dignity, health care, food, water and social security.
Government and the police should act with sympathy and not violence when addressing the complaints of communities.
“The LSSA urges the [SA Police Service] to exercise appropriate restraint and use force only as a last resort. It must also be proportionate to the threat facing the Saps. South Africa should learn from Egypt on how to deal with crowd control.”
Credit to: News 24 and Sapa
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