Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
3 minute read
19 Mar 2021
5:00 am

‘Why we shoot’ – Cop reveals dismal odds riot police face

Marizka Coetzer

‘Your heart starts beating very fast as there are many things to remember – and on top of everything else, our training and tools are not what they should be.'

The police officers who were arrested in connection with the death of Mthokoziisi Ntumba in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. Picture: Neil McCartney

When bricks, rocks, and bottles are flying in your direction and all you have is a shotgun loaded with rubber bullets “less accurate than a paintball gun”, training and muscle memory are supposed to kick in to prevent injury to oneself and colleagues, stop damage to property and disperse protesters. That’s according to a Public Order Policing (POP) member, who may not be named in case of retribution. The problem is, the member said, too often police are thrown onto the firing line when politicians have failed to keep their promises. “It’s then your heart starts beating very fast as...