South Africans Shocked By Viral TikTok Videos Of SAPS Riot Training

In recent weeks, a series of TikTok videos have shed light on the intense training that members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) undergo, especially those in public order policing.

These videos come as violent protests continue to surge in cities across South Africa – underscoring the importance of a well-trained police force.

South Africa, with its complex socio-political landscape, has witnessed a steady rise in the number of violent protests over the past few years including at its university campuses where tyres are often the tools and weapon of choice.

The police have taken note of this as is evidence from the training videos which show riot police trainees being struck with tyres as they descend down a flight of stairs or retreat into their armoured vehicle.

And while some of the comments on the viral TitTok videos that have amassed more than 10 million views online are funny – the training is very serious.

The cadets will be moved, after they graduate, to the front-lines of violent protests.


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These protests, often sparked by issues ranging from service delivery failures to political grievances, have posed significant challenges to the SAPS.

The volatile nature of these demonstrations requires police officers to be adept at crowd control, ensuring the safety of both the protesters and the general public.

Public Order Policing, a specialised unit within the SAPS, is at the forefront of these challenges.

In December last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that following the unrest in July 2021, which saw widespread violence and looting, 4,000 new recruits will be deployed to the Public Order Policing (POP) unit.

Of the 10,000 new recruits being added to the SAPS, Ramaphosa said nearly half the new recruits would be used to strengthen public order policing.

“During the State of the Nation Address, I also said that the staffing of the SAPS Public Order Policing unit will be brought to required levels, with appropriate training courses in place.

“This was in direct reference to the findings and recommendations from the report of the Expert Panel into the July 2021 Civil Unrest. In this regard, 4,000 recruits will be deployed to the Public Order Policing unit,” Ramaphosa said.

The POP training is designed to equip officers with the skills to manage large crowds, de-escalate potentially explosive situations, and ensure that the rights of protesters are upheld while maintaining law and order.

The TikTok videos, which have garnered millions of views, offer a rare glimpse into the rigorous training regimen of these officers.

Some of the comments on TikTok videos included:

“Being a police officer is risky man. Shout out to all the police officers that put their lives at risk for all of us. We appreciate you.

“I will quit the same day”.

“This training is so personal”.

“Who the hell is throwing those tyres. Aiming is on point”.


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