A total of 556 South African’s have been shot dead by police since the controversial “shoot to kill” statements were made two years ago.
The figures where released Wednesday by Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).
According to the ICD, the statistics indicate that between 2008-’09 police shot and killed 556 people countrywide.
This is the greatest number recorded in the twelve years that the ICD has existed.
”In the next five years, until the revision of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act (the so-called shooting act) came into effect, this figure varied between 402 and 501 deaths per year” ICD said.
After the introduction of the revised Act in 2003, IDC say the figure dropped significantly.
Altogether 360 people were shot dead in 2003-’04, 341 in 2004-’05, 281 in 2005-’06 and 375 in 2006-’07.
In 2007-’08 there was a significant increase to 420.
The shot to kill statements where first made by former minister of safety and security Susan Shabangu.
Since then several politicians, including Bheki Cele, national chief of police, Fikile Mbalula, deputy minister of police, and President Jacob Zuma have made similar statements.
Said Shabangu, “You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations,”
She added, “I want no warning shots, you have one shot and it must be a kill shot.”
Last November, a police officer killed a three-year-old boy during a hunt for a murder suspect. The three-year-old identified as Atlegang Phalane is said to have been shot dead in the back seat of a car, where he was seated with his uncle.
The police officer who fired the deadly shot is alleged to have mistaken a pipe which the three year old was holding for a firearm.
South Africa suffers some of the highest levels of violent crime in the world, with murders, hijackings and rape an everyday occurrence.
It is widely believed that only a fraction of those crimes are reported, and only a fraction of those reported lead to a conviction.