Concerns about the police's use of force were raised during a meeting between the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, the commission said on Sunday.
"The SAHRC acknowledged that the police are often challenged to walk the tightrope when dealing with public protests on one hand, and every day needs of policing on the other," spokesperson Isaac Mangena said in a statement.
The SAHRC deplored the loss of life during protests, and expressed concern with the high levels of violence at some protests.
"The meeting noted that more often the police are drawn into conflicts as tail-end interveners. It was noted that it is not the duty of SAPS [South African Police Service] to provide clean water, sanitation, roads and other services."
Service delivery protests
The two parties met for talks on Friday. The meeting followed several cases of alleged police brutality and disregard for civil and political rights during recent service delivery protests across South Africa.
Mangena said the meeting was important to help address the use of force by police, police killings, the causes of and violence during public protests.
"We recognise that we have to step out of our trenches and meet each other around the negotiating table."
The parties would meet again in March. – Sapa