NUMSA STATEMENT ON THE KILLING OF A PROTESTER BY POLICE
14 April 2011
The Free State National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) was shocked and flabbergasted seeing SAPS officers’ sjambock to death one of the protesters in the news on SABC last night.
What we saw last night was a reminder of the notorious apartheid Hit Squad that used to kill and torture our people in townships and factories during the heights of apartheid. We are concerned that 17 years into our democracy, there is a growing trend to turn our SAPS into a killing machine under the ‘shoot-to-kill’ mantra.
We are really worried that our country is gradually degenerating into a police state, whereby the police are a law unto themselves. Our communities and people have a right to take to the streets to raise genuine issues around service delivery without the police playing Municipal or Mayoral Committee barking poodle.
As NUMSA, we call on our ally POPCRU to raise the ideological consciousness of its members in the police service as part of making them understand their tasks and role in the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and the struggle for Socialism.
The killing of a protester by the police officers represents the worse kind of lumpenism and confirms the assertion made by Burkinabe leader Thomas Sankara that ‘a soldier without a political ideology is a dangerous criminal’.
We remain opposed to any violent protests and we are appealing to our communities to raise their concerns in a peaceful and constructive way. We find it extremely unacceptable that our men and women in blue uniforms are resorting to the apartheid Adrian Vlok’s tactics “of meeting fire with fire so as to end fire”.
This is reminiscent of the defeated apartheid era style of policing and leadership. Our leaders deployed in the local state should not co-opt or use police to throw sjambock or bullets at protesters, but come out to address the legitimate and genuine grievances as raised by our communities or people.
We call for the immediate suspension of the police officers that sjambocked a protester to death. We further call on the Independent Complaints Directorate (IDC) to play its legislative role and stop being a toothless body as it relates to cases of police brutality targeted against our defenseless communities or protesters.
Andile Zitho, Regional Secretary – 083 253 8561
Numsa Press Release