The South African Police Service has reacted angrily to allegations that inadequate public order policing is to blame for the death of a 17-year-old girl during a protest in Durban on Monday. They insist they are only trying to maintain law and order in the face of criminality. By KHADIJA PATEL.
On Tuesday Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale, spokesperson for the South African Police Services, contacted the Daily Maverick to voice his displeasure with an article we published detailing the circumstances of the death of a 17-year-old protester, Nqobile Nzuza, in Durban on Monday. Makgale took particular issue with our assessment of the SAPS's "incapacity" to facilitate protests in South Africa.
He argued that the events that led to the death of Nzuza in Cato Crest did not fit the criteria of a protest at all.
"I don't think we can call it a protest," Makgale said. "It stops being a protest when a crime is committed - then it is a crime."
He says police responded to a complaint of a disturbance with one vehicle and then found a road blockaded.
"Police then used another route to ascertain what was happening, and out of nowhere a big group of people...