SAHRC on Mpanza killing: What’s happening where there are no cameras?

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday condemned the lethal shooting by police of a robbery suspect in Krugersdorp‚ saying the “unnecessary death opened again the raw debate on policing and crime”.

The killing of Khulekani Mpanza‚ after he apparently no longer posed a threat to cops‚ was captured on CCTV footage and caused outrage after being published by the Sunday Times.

“It with the greatest concern that the SAHRC observes yet another video on police brutality and human rights violations‚” spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.

“The SAHRC does not condone the criminal acts linked to the suspect prior to his killing‚ and acknowledges that policing is hazardous occupation which saw several of their members killed in recent months.

But‚ added Mangena‚ “we also acknowledge that we are living in a society which prohibits the police from taking the law into their hands”.

“What the police cannot do is to shoot and kill a person who no longer poses any immediate threat to themselves or any‚ member of the public‚ which‚ based on the video footage circulating‚ seemed to have been the case in Mpanza’s killing.”

Mangena mentioned some highly publicised incidents of extrajudicial killings by police — “Mido Macia‚ Andries Tatane and the execution of some miners in Marikana” – and said they “cannot be divorced from the killing of Mpanza”.

“What is of concern to the SAHRC is that these cases‚ including Mpanza’s killing‚ are highlighted by the use of video and photographic images.

“We have to ask what is happening where there are no cameras and no shining lights?”