/ 6 May 2011

Police killings nearly double since 2006

The number of people shot dead by police officers has nearly doubled since 2006, Beeld reported on Friday.

Following the death of Andries Tatane after police allegedly beat and shot him, Police Commisioner Bheki Cele visited his family home in Ficksburg to offer his condolences.

It quoted figures released by Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies.

Newham said 281 people were shot dead by the police in 2005/2006.

That number increased to 568 in 2008/2009 and 524 in 2010.

“Many more people get shot dead by police than what we hear about,” said Newham.

“Andries Tatane’s death was the trigger that turned the attention to police brutality. The difference between Tatane and somebody else who was killed by police, is that Tatane’s death was captured on camera.”

South African Broadcasting Corporation television news footage shocked the country last month when it showed a group of policemen beating Tatane at a protest in Ficksburg in the Free State. Tatane, a teacher, was seen holding his hand against his chest after the assault and collapsed about 20 minutes later. He died before an ambulance arrived.

Eight policemen are currently on trial for the assault and murder. – Sapa