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National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, has commended the Public Order Police (POP) unit attached to the Qonce policing precinct for the manner in which they handled a violent protest.

A police nyala was burnt by protesters and South African Police Service (SAPS) members were attacked. The incident happened near the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape.

Members of the POP unit were monitoring a protest when they came under fire from university students.

Four POP members sustained injuries when a group of violent protestors threw stones at members conducting foot and vehicle patrols. One member has since been hospitalised.

Two members monitoring the violent protest in a police nyala escaped unharmed when the Nyala was set alight. The pair managed to jump out moments before the armoured vehicle burst into flames.

The National Commissioner has called on the Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Cape to mobilise the 72-hour activation plan, a plan designed to mobilise critical resources and expertise to gather intelligence and evidence to help successfully identify the culprits responsible for undermining the authority of the State.

“Members from the POP unit must be commended for practising restraint and enforcing the law within the parameters as set out by the Constitution when they came under attack. 

“We wish the injured members a speedy recovery and have also dispatched our Employee Health and Wellness unit to provide psychological support to all affected members,” Sitole said.

Criminal cases, including malicious damage to property and assault, have been registered for investigation. No suspects have been arrested as yet.

SAPS has called on anyone who saw what transpired or know of anyone who is responsible for these acts to contact their nearest police station or share the information through the MySAPS App. Members of the public are reminded that they may remain anonymous.


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