Parliamentary statement regarding "Police shoot to kill rhetoric" by Mr Ntopile Kganyago, MP - UDM Education Spokesperson (5 November 2009)

The UDM is deeply concerned about the increasing number of reports of police brutality; incidents of violence and death at the hands of the police are now reported almost daily.

One example is the recent incident where police shot and killed a fleeing man who had not threatened them or anyone else. On the face of it, that would constitute a coldblooded assassination.

The ill-considered “shoot-to-kill” rhetoric of the honourable President, Minister and the Police Commissioner, are not in step with our democratic values. Now we are witnessing police brutality we must be reminded very powerfully of how the old regime’s police acted with impunity. Indeed, now those of us who seem to have forgotten must consider again why we put measures in place to prevent arbitrary violence by the police.

We do not dispute that the police face dangerous and armed criminals. But we cannot and should not fall for the deception that indiscriminate police violence will solve our crime problems.

We are rapidly descending into a Wild West situation, where the criminals and police resort to open warfare. It is the citizens who are caught in the crossfire. Having another set of trigger-happy people running around will make the criminals less violent, quite the contrary, they are more likely now to shoot first. Crime requires a holistic and concerted policy response; something which the ruling party has failed to do. The one successful instrument, the Scorpions, was dismantled by the ruling party. We are paying the price now for their lack of constructive crime-fighting policy.