Shootings, beatings, torture, wrongful arrests, harassments and assaults are incurring the police billions of rand in damages claims, with the State forking out hundreds of millions of rand in taxpayers’ money in settlements every year.
This information comes days after three protesters were allegedly shot and killed by police during violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal.
The latest killings bring the number of demonstrators killed, allegedly at the hands of police, in the past two months to seven.
The killings occurred on Tuesday when three KwaDukuza residents, including a teenager, were shot dead during protests over increased taxi fares.
The use of force by police and an apparent lack of human rights training for recruits has been slammed by criminologists, with some calling for a review of police management and a reorientation when it comes to the use of force.
And while claims against police have increased by hundreds of millions of rand, police management remains tight-lipped about what they are doing to curb their often wayward, violent and brutal members.
Despite e-mailing questions to national police commissioner General Bheki Cele’s office two weeks ago inquiring about whether human rights formed part of the recruits’ training, his spokesman, Colonel Vish Naidoo, failed to respond.
Asked about the costs the SAPS had incurred and paid out in damages for shootings, assaults and police actions, Naidoo referred the Pretoria News to the police annual report. A review of the SAPS’ past five annual reports, from the 2005/6 financial year to the 2009/10 financial year, shows that pending damages claims against SAPS assaults, shootings and police actions amounted to R6.7 billion, while police paid out more than R190 million in damages for assaults, shootings and police actions during the same period.
The Pretoria News understands that the amounts paid out in damages each year are not necessarily for the amounts incurred in that specific year and could be for damages claimed in previous years.
The reports reveal that over the past five years, the costs the police incurred for assaults have more than tripled, from R52.7m in the 2005/6 financial year to R186.5m in 2009/10.
For that same period, the costs the SAPS incurred for wayward police action increased by R700m, from R1bn to R1.7bn.
When it came to shootings, the costs the police incurred more than quadrupled from R69.6m in 2005/6 to R235.9m in 2009/10.
In terms of pay-outs over the past five financial years, the police on average paid R2m a year for assaults by its members, while pay-outs for police actions, such as wrongful arrests and harassment, over the same period increased from R19.6m to R51.9m.
When it came to shootings, liability pay-outs decreased over the same period from R7.6m in 2005/6 to R5.3m in 2009/10.
David Bruce, senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, said the pay-outs and damages incurred were another reason the government needed to attach greater priority to the question of proper control when it came to the use of force by police.
“There is clearly a need for strengthening police management, especially when it comes to addressing issues on the use of force.
“Effectively, what these claims mean is that more harm is being done by police than good,” he said.
Bruce said there was an urgent need for overall reorientation of police in their approach to the use of force. “When it comes to training we can surmise that it is inconsistent.
“The overall tone set by police leadership on the use of force is having a profound impact, especially when it comes to what happens in training,” he said.
Institute of Security Studies policing expert Johan Burger said training was of serious concern with not enough trainers or facilities for the thousands of new recruits entering the police force.
“The SAPS has simply grown too quickly for its training capabilities.
“While specialised units often receive the necessary specialised training, it is impossible to do this for all station members. Not only does this apply to specialised training, but also to firearm refresher and legal training courses.
“Even with Cele’s admission that they had taken in numbers over quality, and the extension of the recruit training period to address these problems, it does not address the problem of those already employed by the police, who simply should not be in the police in the first place,” he said. – Pretoria News
. . . AND IT WAS JUST REPORTED IN THIS PAPER THAT THE LOCNVILLE TWINS AND A FRIEND WERE ASSAULTED BY COPS. . . . . I FEEL A DAMN FOR THE SAPS. . . THEY CAN BE GUNNED DOWN LIKE FLIES FOR ALL I CARE AND THE SAME WITH THE METROS. . . BUNCH OF COWARDS HIDING BEHIND THEIR UNIFORMS!!!
@InOnLaughter - well now that ive picked myself up off the floor wiped the tears from my eyes, can i say to you - thank you!
OMW...another know-it-all GOOGLER haha what a tonsil...why dont you google that you uneducated GOOGLE-for-answers freak
SAPS or vultures or pigs as they commonly refered to are a disgrace to our society. Many need to do lose weight and start working. I see them as wolves in sheep clothing and often smelling to alcohol on the job. The horrendous crimes THEY (SAPS) have committed against me and my family will never be forgoten.The big problem is too many cops cover up for each other so they are get away with murder. It is time we stand up against them and report them to their watchdog for every wrong offence done daily. Most of them all have rotten attitudes and just to think this R7 000 000 000 is coming from our pockets as tax payers.LOL
I think that in future IOL editors should have an IQ pop-up before responses can be posted. For example: Can you spell, Have you ever been called stupid?, or something like that. I dont fear the government or the police, I do however fear the amount of idiots spewing their 5c on IOL like experts on world politics. How about you ask your administrator to block your access to IOL, get some work done for the day, then say, Im proudly South African, Ive done some work, now to go home and complain about my poor country to someone who gives a cr@p. Alternatively, go to google and type in highest crime rate in the world and you may be shocked to see, its not SA but the USA. Please remember you will have to be able to spell and produce an original thought, without burning any other grey cells you have floating in your (dare i say), heads!
"@@juan - why dont you just crawl back into your hole oor go back to the drc where you originated from" WRT above, Why dont you crawl back into your grave!! you GHOST!!
With all this going down there is no reduction in the crime rate at all. 50+ people a day in SA are murdered - police brutality or not. And R7 thousand million rand. The whole thing is just a bl**dy mess as usual under ANC rule.
@juan, I black proudly south African your comment is shows you as someone who is illiteracy or lack of knowldege. Think again, this country need to go foward. All people are entitled of ther opinion. If things are wrong should be critised.
@@juan - why dont you just crawl back into your hole oor go back to the drc where you originated from
why the heck must race always creep in... this is when one does look at race - otherwise we don't. take those blinking forests off the shoulder-plse..yes, we all have hangups for one reason or another but stop blaming every one else and wake up!!!!
"General" Cele, with a teachers diploma, suddenly promoted to General in SAPS . The meteoric rise without any effort is bound to cloud judgement. He believes he is worth the promotion and is therefore able and capable of making inane pronouncements on policing activities, after all, he is a "General"
The police are part of organized crime nowadays, not part of a solution to crime. Nothing more than a bunch of gun-toting thugs with zero respect for the law they are supposed to uphold, or the public they are supposed to serve. Already 10% of the force serve as guardsbodyguards for corrupt ANC politicians. Am I the only one who thinks the SAP in nothing more than the new armed wing of the ANC? They obviously don't serve the public, even though we pay their salaries.
Hi there, nice to meet you. My name is wicky the tax payer...Im the one paying for these gits both the legal fees in the courtroom and the payout when they loose the case. Nice to meet you now excuse me while I bend over a little more and rub some vaseline on my tush in preparation for the next ANC gov blunder :(
Hopefully people will all stand up and stand together and hit back at these gangsters in blue!!
U always negative,why don't you go back to holland with your ratial coments
U always negative,why don't you go back to holland with your ratial coments
When Winnie Mandela cried foul, she deemed racist. The truth of the matter is that there is a lot of police brutality!
That's what happens when the police commissioner has never been a police officer. lol!
Graham F, wrote
We need to have a bigger, visible ,better paid and trained police service to attract the right people. Too many seem to join to get a job. Most important they should be led by a senior police officer, experienced and knowledgeable, not a political appointee with no police experience.
The increase in police brutality incidents could perhaps be linked to the increase of violent crime and disdain toward police officials from the general public. Two wrongs will never make a right, but the police have a right to dignity, respect, self-defence and uphold the law. Quid pro quo afterall.