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Media silent about deaths in detention in South Africa

When the South African police uses excessive force against protesters, inmates or the general public these days, almost nobody, including the mainstream media, cares.

Published: June 29, 2017, 9:47 am

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    Pretoria

    But when asked how many people died in police detention during Apartheid, answers varying from a few thousand to tens of thousands to a “billion” are heard. Less than 40 million people lived in the country in 1994.

    FWM asked black South African the same question and they provided figures into the hundreds of thousands, even hundreds of millions. They all told FWM that whites had committed genocide against the black population complete with mass graves, gas chambers and the likes but could give no indication of where these alleged sites were.

    Figures, compiled by the ruling ANC regime themselves however, tell a different story.

    A researcher from the Centre for Conflict analysis delivered a paper on 21 March 1991 at the University of the Witwatersrand: The South African Police: Managers of conflict or party to the conflict? The research showed the police to be anti-black.

    The paper was a liberal treatise on the role of so-called “state violence” based on “State Violence in South Africa and the Development of a Progressive Psychology” by authors Foster and Skinner, about the number of people that had died in police detention in South Africa during the height of Apartheid: “At least 74 people died while in detention during the period 1963 to 1985, some under questionable circumstances.”

    The SA History site, a Marxist venture, also recorded data of exactly how many people were detained and how many died under detention.

    “A number of observers and students of repression around the world have commented that the repression in South Africa during the apartheid era pales into insignificance when compared with some Latin American countries if the numbers of political disappearances and assassinations are used as the criteria for making such judgement. For example, disappearances and assassinations in Argentina were said to total around 30,000 while in South Africa the figure was but a few hundred.”

    Today, under the ANC regime, torture, including rape, and other ill-treatment of people in police custody, as well as deaths, continue to be reported, but the media takes little interest. The South African Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) reported 366 deaths as a result of police action and 216 deaths in police custody in one year 2015/2016, alone!

    It also reported 145 cases of torture, including 51 cases of rape, by police officers on duty, and 3 509 cases of assault by police. According to Ipid, the number of people killed by police action in South Africa in 2013 was 409. This was down from 485 in 2012.

    Amnesty International noted that “legal proceedings relating to unlawful killings by police remained slow”. And nary a peep from an often outraged international community about police brutality, and deaths in detention.

    According to Amnesty, “xenophobia and violence against refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants resulted in deaths, injuries and displacement. Women and girls, particularly those in marginalized communities, continued to face gender inequality and discrimination. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people were subjected to discrimination and hate crimes, including killings. Human rights defenders were attacked”.

    As AI reported: “Durban hostel residents submitted an urgent appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling for the UN Human Rights Council to intervene regarding the targeted police killings. On 7 November, a Glebelands peace committee leader was shot dead after leaving Umlazi Magistrate’s Court. No arrests have been made.”

    In the US 1 242 police fatalities a year were recorded for 2013. Taking into account that the US population is six times greater than South Africa’s, the current SAPS are twice as lethal as their US counterparts.

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