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KZN top cop 'takes responsibility' for loss of lives during July unrest

'I am taking responsibility for the failure of the police to protect lives and property as outlined in the constitution, regardless of whatever make us underperform,' KZN police commissioner Lt Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said.

KZN police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi told the SAHRC that there was nothing in the SAPS performance assessments that could lead to action against provincial police management and station commanders for the deaths during the July uprising.
KZN police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi told the SAHRC that there was nothing in the SAPS performance assessments that could lead to action against provincial police management and station commanders for the deaths during the July uprising.
Image: SAHRC via Twitter

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi on Wednesday took responsibility for the loss of lives in the province during the July unrest.

“I am taking responsibility for the failure of the police to protect lives and property as outlined in the constitution, regardless of whatever makes us to underperform,” said Mkhwanazi.

However, Mkhwanazi told the SA Human Rights Commission that there was nothing in the SAPS performance assessments that could lead to action against provincial police management and station commanders for the deaths.

“There is nothing that is written down in terms of our performance assessment or performance agreements that says should you fail in the performance of your duty to protect life in your policing area, you should be held accountable in this fashion. There is nothing. I invite the commission to study all our performance assessment and job descriptions in place,” he said.

When asked again why the station commander in Phoenix was not being held accountable for the murders of more than 30 people there, Mkhwanazi replied that he did not kill them.

“The police did not kill them. These were the people killed in instances, if not all, without the presence of the police. Why should the police be held accountable? The police don’t take responsibility for your husband, who killed you in your house, because the police failed to protect you,” said Mkhwanazi.

Mkhwanazi added that a lot of people would not have died if they had stayed home during the unrest.

He explained that he did not condone murder, however most people killed in the province had died from being trampled to death while looting.

On Tuesday, he testified that police had recorded 218 bodies picked up throughout the province.

He said most had been trampled to death while looting. Some were killed by other looters over goods “such as a bottle of whisky”.

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