Phahlane: Police must use maximum restraint

Phahlane: Police must use maximum restraint

Acting national police commissioner, General Khomotso Phahlane on Tuesday visited various university campuses in Gauteng where after he consulted with the provincial SAPS management team. 

Kgomotso Phahlane
Jacaranda FM

"I have directed that, with immediate effect, senior managers in the province are to take personal control of police actions relating to the student protests at the universities under the banner of #FeesMustFall," Phahlane said in a statement.

He also said that they took a decision that Deputy National Commissioner, Lt. Gen. Gary Kruser, will oversee all planning and management processes relating to the present spate of student protest action in Gauteng.

"During the meeting, we emphasised our standpoint that SAPS members deployed during these protests should exercise maximum restraint.  At the same time, they must also exercise their duties in terms of our Constitutional mandate, which includes the maintenance of stability within the country and upholding the law," Phahlane said.

Wits unrest students
Photo: Maryke Vermaak

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SAPS also called on students and student leaders to "consider their actions" and to refrain from making inflammatory remarks.

"We need to, and the SAPS is prepared to, engage in meaningful dialogue to reach a common objective. Our ultimate goal is the de-escalation of violence while upholding the right to peaceful and lawful protest," the statement read.

The police have rejected reports that their members act in a "blood-thirsty" way and that they are unnecessarily violent in dealing with protesting students.

"As an organisation, the SAPS's resources are being stretched. There are other protests taking place in the province which also have to be policed to ensure the safety of our citizens," Phahlane said.

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