Disaster Appropriate Policing in South Africa: Protests and State Violence in the COVID-19 Era

This policy brief examines South African Police Services (SAPS) responses to public protests since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. It highlights an increased use of state violence and excessive force in response to such protests. The brief argues that the use of state violence undermines our ability to address the root causes of such protests, as well as erodes the trust and social cohesion required to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic. It suggests several factors that may have contributed to this increased state violence and provides recommendations as to how such violence may be reduced or prevented.