The continuity of police brutality in post-apartheid South Africa

Keywords: Police, brutality, excessive force, reasonable force, lethal force, de-escalation, assault, violence, abuse of power, harm


The objects of this research are: First, to highlight that police brutality is still ongoing in South Africa despite the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994. Second, to explore the concept of police brutality and its definitional related concepts like excessive force, reasonable force, lethal force, and de-escalation. Third, to explore possible avenues of rebuilding citizens’ loss of trust and confidence in the police.

The researcher investigated the following problems: Police excessive use of force on citizens resulting in injuries or loss of lives, understanding of reasonable force, when can police officers make use of force, a lack of proper police accountability, and citizens’ lack of trust and confidence of the police.

The main results of the research are: first, police brutality is still ongoing in South Africa due to reported incidents of brutality in some instances resulting in loss of lives at the hands of the police. Second, a conceptualization of police/citizen partnership is needed in South Africa, benefits derived from community police need to be explored more for the understanding of all stakeholders. Third, the culture of promoting violence within and outside the police service needs to be addressed. Fourth, Police brutality is an abuse of power, it portrays police officers in a bad light seen by many as oppressive apparatus of the state designed to perpetuate immediate unlawful violence against citizens. The police service has a lot to do when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of citizens. Contemporary policing must respect the rights and dignity of citizens and enforce the law without fear or favour within the laid down the constitutional mandate.

The area of practical use of the research are all citizens affected by crime, police and safer communities, human rights organisations, university students and staff members of the criminal justice department


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Author Biography

Shaka Yesufu, University of Limpopo Republic of South Africa

Department of Research and Development


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How to Cite
Yesufu, S. (2022). The continuity of police brutality in post-apartheid South Africa. ScienceRise, (2), 21-29.
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