Police tend to go over the top in almost every country in the world, it could be argued, but that does not excuse the ethos of violence in the South African police services. Marikana, Vaalwater 2011, Mido Macia and let us not forget the 900 deaths in police custody between 2011 and 2012.
That we live in a violent society does not justify any of these acts of violence or statistics. In fact, because we live in a violent society our police need to be setting the example that violence is not a solution but can only be resorted to when all else fails and violence is the only option available to counter violence. This may seem to be glib but an ethos of non violence needs to be encouraged throughout our society across all cultures and at all levels and that the measure of a man, and even of a woman, is taken from how he or she treats his or her fellows. It should be a matter of pride that violence is not necessary to live a fulfilled and successful life. This culture of consideration and respect for others is already instilled in African Culture through the idea of Ubuntu. Just where has Ubuntu gone? And it certainly does not help when the people who are supposed to keep the peace resort to unnecessary violence.
Police violence can come down to the exercise of poor judgement in the field which in turn is probably underpinned by poor and inadequate training, poor and inadequate resourcing and poor and inadequate leadership. That is the bottom line. It is no good blaming the rookie in the field for getting it wrong when there is nothing there to support him getting it right. The whole structure and ethos of our policing needs to be overhauled, top-down and bottom-up. This the Direct Democracy Forum intend doing.
The buck stops at the ballot box.