SAPS Used Unhealthy Device On South Africans

It has been exposed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) used an unhealthy, harmful and potentially damaging device on South Africans during the anti-Zuma protests in Tshwane earlier this year.

This revelation was made in a reply to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Parliamentary question.

As contained in the reply, SAPS used a “Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)” on South Africans during the anti-Zuma protests in April 2017.

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Experts say LRAD can produce a blast of amplified sound capable of inducing headaches, panic, and potential hearing loss. Its effects have been severally likened to standing in front of a jet engine.

Using LRADs known as the sound cannons and sonic weapons to control crowd generated controversies across the globe. The fact that its high-pitched sound does cause pains, migraines and permanent hearing damages have been a cause for concern.

In fact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) was sued in 2016 for using the LRAD to disperse a December 2014 protest.

Although the Parliamentary reply specified that the Council for Science and Industry Relations (CSIR) confirmed SAPS’ use of the device, DA contended that SAPS doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to crowd control.

“The lessons of Marikana, where 34 protesting miners were gunned down by the SAPS, show that the SAPS use disproportional force to control crowds in South Africa.

“The fact that SAPS is now using equipment that has the potential to seriously harm people, and is subject to large lawsuits in other countries, is cause for serious concern and must be addressed,” DA insisted.

From our gatherings, 25 public order policing units are currently in possession of this weapons. And, the anti-Zuma Tshwane protests weren’t the first time SAPS deployed LRADs.

To the DA, the revelation “is incredibly serious”. It’s not cool for SAPS to use “potentially dangerous crowd control equipment in defence of the captured President Jacob Zuma.

“(We) will not stand by while the ANC continues to protect their own leaders instead of the citizens that they are meant to,” DA charged.

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Now, the party has upheld that the Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, must be held accountable on the LRAD issue.

DA said it will write to Mbalula to find out why the LRAD was used, under what circumstances it was used and whether the officers deployed to the protest had been adequately trained on its use.

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