SAfrica president slams police killing protester

AP News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2011 7:13 AM
SAfrica president slams police killing protester

South Africa's president has condemned police for killing a man during a protest, saying at a news conference Thursday that the force needs to reform.

President Jacob Zuma was asked at a news conference Thursday about the April 13 death of Andries Tatane, who was among demonstrators in a central South African town protesting lack of basic services in their community. Eight police officers face murder and other charges after state television showed images of police beating Tatane.

"A pack of police beat him to death. Unacceptable," Zuma said. "Our police will have to correct their ways of dealing with the people."

Since Tatane's death, national police chief Bheki Cele has said thousands of officers would be given more crowd control training.

Both Zuma's African National Congress party and the main opposition Democratic Alliance have compared officers' actions in Tatane's death to the tactics of apartheid-era police. The Independent Complaints Directorate, the agency responsible for investigating charges of police misconduct in South Africa, has also drawn that parallel.

"Policing in 2011 should be totally different from the apartheid past that we come from," directorate chief Francois Beukman said after his officers arrested police suspects in Tatane's death. "Police officers should uphold the rule of law and not be the ones accused of breaking it."