South Africa: From Collins Khosa to George Floyd - Policing in Crisis in South Africa and the U.S.

opinion

There are striking similarities between policing in the US and in South Africa, and in the deaths of George Floyd and Collins Khosa - the policing systems that caused them stem from oppressive pasts and are indicative of security forces that lack proper controls.

In the last week we have seen in the media the global outrage against the killing of Minnesota resident, George Floyd in the US. This outrage also resonated with many South Africans.

During this time, where police brutality has once again dominated public platforms, it is important for South Africans to reflect on our own state-sanctioned violence. We must mourn those that have been murdered by state security actors who, instead of fulfilling their mandate to protect and serve, inflicted arbitrary, and cruel acts of violence and abuse of power. Above all, we must demand justice.

There are deep structural similarities between the police force in the US and the South African Police Service (SAPS). First, both stem from oppressive regimes. Policing in the US can be traced back to slave patrols of the 1700s. In South Africa, we are well aware of how the apartheid government implemented its viciousness and oppression in partnership with the...

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