Po­lice shot pro­test­ers with il­le­gal rounds

Weekend Witness - - News -

PRE­TO­RIA — Po­lice fired dis­con­tin­ued shot­gun rounds dur­ing a ser­vice de­liv­ery protest in Mothut­lung, North West, in which four pro­test­ers were killed last week, po­lice min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said yes­ter­day.

The SSG 12­gauge rounds, which con­tain pel­lets, were of­fi­cially dis­con­tin­ued by the SA Po­lice Ser­vice in 2006, and were “not sup­posed to be used”, he told re­porters in Pre­to­ria.

Three peo­ple died in Mothut­lung dur­ing the protests over wa­ter ser­vices — two al­legedly shot by po­lice, while another died af­ter fall­ing out of a po­lice ve­hi­cle. A fourth, shot in the head, died a week later in hos­pi­tal.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions, Mthethwa said no live am­mu­ni­tion was used by po­lice at the protest.

He said 14 po­lice of­fi­cers, six con­sta­bles, six war­rant of­fi­cers and two lieu­tenants, were fac­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion. “Six are al­ready sus­pended, oth­ers are be­ing served with their sus­pen­sion notices.”

The dis­ci­plinary process could take up to 60 days. All of them were “well­ex­pe­ri­enced and prac­tised” mem­bers of the pub­lic or­der polic­ing unit, Mthethwa said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, a to­tal of 185 shots were fired at pro­test­ers in Mothut­lung last week dur­ing the wa­ter de­liv­ery protests.

Th­ese in­cluded rub­ber shot and the dis­con­tin­ued SSG rounds, as well as two stun grenades and a num­ber of smoke grenades. — Sapa.

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