Police justify killing gunman at Mandela's home

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Police guards who shot dead a gunman in front of the Cape Town residence of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday night had acted within the law and were not in contravention of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula gave the justification Wednesday at the country's first-ever conference looking back at ten years of the justice system in a democratic South Africa.
The law Nqakula was referring to deals with the use of justified force by police officials in the execution of their duties, including when to discharge a firearm while making an arrest.
Nqakula said the deceased had first asked to speak to Mandela, before he pointed an R5 assault rifle at the guards.
The gunman has been identified as George Makuma, a former army major who may have suffered from a mental illness.
Earlier, Nqakula said the post-apartheid government had come a long way in meeting the objectives of policing a new South Africa.
"We created one single police service from 11 separate police forces (under the apartheid regime) and succeeded in laying the foundation for making our police service accountable and community orientated.
"This was achieved by, among other things, the demilitarisation of the rank structure of the new police and the appointment of skilled civilians into key positions in the service," he maintained.
Nqakula also allayed any fears that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) would change the Constitution if it won more than two thirds of the vote in the upcoming elections.

18 march 2004 08:17:00

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