Cape Town - Waiting more than four hours for a police van to arrive and being told to “get out” of a police station are just some of the complaints received by the provincial government hotline set up to stamp out police corruption.
The “Report a cop, reward a cop” hotline was launched by Community Safety MEC Dan Plato in July to encourage people to report police corruption or good work by SMS, Twitter, telephone or e-mail.
On Wednesday, Plato’s spokesman, Greg Wagner, said that, on average, 20 calls and SMSes a week were received, most relating to poor police service. In November and last month, 147 complaints were received about problems that ranged from poor response times to unwillingness to help.
Only “a handful” of compliments were received, said Wagner.
“One woman reported that she called SAPS to report a crime and was promised that a van would be dispatched, but it was not forthcoming,” Wagner said.
“The complainant went four hours later to the station, where she was again told that a van would be sent.”
The woman was allegedly also told to “get out of the station” when she went back for assistance.
The highest number of complaints were from Grassy Park, followed by Delft and Elsies River.
Wagner said the measures proposed in the Western Cape Community Safety Bill, such as the introduction of an ombudsman, were part of attempts by the province to assist in resolving these complaints. The bill is before the legislature, but has been described as unconstitutional by the ANC, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the Western Cape Community Police Board.
Public hearings were held this week and final submissions are to be discussed by the legislature’s committee on community safety on February 12. The bill would give the provincial government greater oversight over the police.
Wagner said public complaints were collated by the provincial Department of Community Safety and sent to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) or provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer for investigation.
* People can report police misconduct or good work by SMSing the word “reward” or “report” to 35395 or by calling the 24-hour hotline: 021 483 4332.
Faxes may be sent to the Department of Community Safety at 021 483 6026.