National Police Commissioner, Khehla Sitole has told the Human Rights Commission that they had to exercise extreme caution when moving resources from one province to another during July’s civil unrest.

Sitole is on Tuesday continuing with his testimony at the Commission’s hearings into the civil unrest in Umhlanga in Durban.

Widespread looting and the destruction of businesses took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng claiming the lives of over 350 people.

Sitole says police were working against criminals whose modus operandi was well orchestrated.

The National Police Commissioner says although the unrest mainly affected KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, they received intelligence report which indicated that it would be moving to Mpumalanga and Free State.

While many have testified that police were not seen on the ground, Sitole has emphasised that the police were over stretched.

“The criminal element behind the execution modus operandi [is that] they were also doing their own study to check where are we shifting resources, so they focus on that particular area. Therefore, when the resources were shifted – we were also extremely careful.”

“We could not completely move resources from one province to another, but we did that in a proportional way as the demand increased,” he adds.

Below is the live stream of Tuesday’s proceedings:

No prior warnings

Earlier on Friday, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala described the riots that occurred in the province as an embarrassment.

Zikalala said the province did not receive any prior warnings from state security agencies on the impending massive unrest.

He told the commission that his office relied on social media messages that warned of a planned shutdown.

Zikalala told the commission that on the 11th of July following the torching of trucks, he pleaded with the President to deploy the army to restore order.

The Premier also highlighted to the commission that the police and the army were poorly coordinated and lacked synergy.

He added that there appeared to have been no adequate equipment to deal with the situation.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura also echoed the sentiments of other witnesses before the South Africa Human Rights Commission that the police were overwhelmed during the July civil unrest.

The video below is Friday’s live proceedings of the commission: