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Report police killed 716 peope and wounded 2,000 in 1986

March 6, 1987

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ Police officers last year shot to death 716 people, including 92 juveniles, Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok said Friday.

Replying in writing to a series of questions submitted by opposition party members before Parliament adjourned last month, Vlok also said 1,701 adults and 387 juveniles were wounded by police last year.

He also said the casualties included violence related to the anti-apartheid campaign against the white-led government and common crimes, but gave no breakdown. He said the shootings occurred while the officers were carrying out their duty.

In an unusual incidence involving an attempted robbery, police said a paraplegic in a wheelchair pulled a revolver to stop a man from robbing two schoolgirls Friday. The gun went off in a struggle, and the bullet ricocheted, wounding four passers-by.

The account by the South African Press Association quoted police as saying two women and two men were admitted to a hospital for treatment of wounds, and the would-be robber escaped.

The report quoted police spokesman Lt. Dot van der Vyver as saying that Michael Davis, confined to a wheelchair, drew his revolver when he saw a man trying to rob two girls in front of a department store.

″The man panicked, lunged at Mr. Davis’ wheelchair and attempted to disarm him,″ van der Vyver told the agency. ″A struggle ensued, and a shot was fired. Four people ... were injured by the bullet, which split into several pieces and ricocheted off the pavement.″

The thief escaped in the confusion, according to the report.

It quoted Davis as saying, ″I wanted to prevent a theft, but was not prepared to fire a shot, in case someone was killed. I was very frightened when the man lunged for the gun, and everyone else seemed stunned into inaction. I think that the man was injured, but he still managed to escape. Nobody made any effort whatsoever to apprehend him.″

It is common for white people to carry guns because of the racial violence, but the report did not give the races of the people involved in the incident.

Vlok, in response to another question, said 304 people were killed from July 1986 to the end of January 1987 in what he said was violence related to the anti-apartheid campaign. Of these, 69 were killed by security forces and 22 by municipal police officers in black townships, he said, indicating the other deaths involved fighting between black factions.

Twelve members of the security forces were among those killed, Vlok said, ″virtually without exception ... by radicals.″

By law and custom, apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 24 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services. stored as apart-fhd, copy on clipboard.

Of the 716 adults killed during the past year in all regular police action, the minister said there were 558 blacks, 21 whites, 40 coloreds - the South African phase for people of mixed race - and five Indians. He said of the 92 deaths of juveniles, 89 were blacks and three were coloreds.

Vlok also said 58,962 children - youngsters under 18 - were jailed in 1986 and charged, and the vast majority are awaiting their first court appearance. The figure was lower than in 1985, when 62,136 juveniles were jailed during the year.

But the figures for 1986 apparently did not include youngsters held under the national state of emergency declared June 12, which allows indefinite detention without charge or trial.

Vlok has refused to give the total number of minors held in emergency detention, but he did say on Feb. 12 that 281 children under 15 years old were in detention at that time.