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SIPHOFANENI – “I never declared war,” says the National Commissioner of Police (NatCom) William Dlamini.

Dlamini was responding to a question that sought to establish if what he was quoted as having said by the local weekend publications had not been the cause of the violent clashes between police officers and the protesters. He was quoted as having said: “This is war!”  It was reported that he had said the above when stating that police officers would use force to disperse crowds that would defy government orders suspending the delivery of petitions to constituency centres. In the aftermath of the violent clashes of the police and protesters, social media commentators claimed that such utterances had fuelled the fire as people were bound to be defiant.

When sought to elaborate what he meant by his statement, Dlamini said he had not declared a war but had responded to a question by a journalist who sought to establish if police officers were not scared of a confrontation with the protesters. He said: “A Dlamini journalist asked me if police officers were not scared of a confrontation and I said this was like a war. This meant that whenever a situation like this happened, a person did not have an alternative but had to confront it head on.”


The NatCom said should he have responded by saying that they were afraid as police officers, it would have meant that he was telling his troops to run for cover and not protect the citizenry during the protests. He emphasised that ‘war’ was quoted out of context as the police could not declare war on the citizenry they were meant to protect. Dlamini said the police were not discriminatory in rendering their services as they protected even the protesters. “It aches my heart that this has degenerated to confrontations. People should understand that when I say we shall not be alone, I am not saying we shall be there with other people or other intentions but I meant that we would be with other security forces we usually partner with.”
Worth noting, is that in most instances, the police partner with officers from His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS). The NatCom appealed to the public to be patient as government had suspended the delivery of petitions due to certain reasons.


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