Certainty must trigger gun use

A North West minister of religion has just been released from hospital after being shot by police who mistook him for fugitive prison escapee, Ananias Mathe.

A North West minister of religion has just been released from hospital after being shot by police who mistook him for fugitive prison escapee, Ananias Mathe.

The only reason police have given for shooting the Reverend Motlotlo Rabotapi of the AME church in Ga-Rankuwa, was that he fled when they confronted him.

What did they expect him to do when he was approached by people wearing plain clothes and travelling in an unmarked car? Thinking he was about to be robbed, Rabotapi sensibly ran for dear life. He was shot in the leg.

Even if they had acted on a tip-off, the police - who were under pressure to nail the culprit - should have been more meticulous in their investigation.

Rabotapi posed no threat and there was no reason to open fire. Guns should only be used when the police are threatened or when a positively identified suspect flees.

We are relieved that the minister was not killed and wish him a speedy recovery.

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