Police blamed for rogue members within SAPS

By Bongani Hans, Sihle Makhowana Time of article published Nov 3, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s police service is rife with rogue members because of the failure of Police Minister Bheki Cele’s department to do a thorough background check during recruitments as senior officials are largely interested in addressing unemployment.

This is according to police portfolio committee member Henry Andries Shembeni, who had first hand experience with police conduct while he was an officer before entering politics.

According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) annual performance plan 2021-2022, by February this year the unit was sitting with 337 unfinalised cases, including 215 deaths as a result of police action, 76 reckless discharge of official firearms and 27 deaths in police custody.

There were also 13 charges of rape against the officers.

Cele had two years ago revealed that more than 4 000 police officers, including 32 senior managers, had criminal records.

Investigations have over the past years made startling revelations about police being implicated in murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, rape and theft of money, among other crimes.

According to the report, by the same period, which is February, Ipid was facing an overall workload of 36 266 cases, with backlog and post-decision monitoring cases contributing 22 734, a backlog of 7 909 and 5 623 new cases.

“The assault cases contribute 60% to the total workload, followed by 13% of discharge of an official arm and 9% of death as a result of police action. There were 997 cases of corruption and 15 systematic corruption,” the report stated.

When contacted, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke shared a document contained in a police watchdog’s database website http:// viewfinder.org.za/, which outlines cases of shocking police misconduct and brutality.

The document, which was released on October 20, revealed that 47 000 cases against police officers involved in brutality and corruption were reported for investigation between 2012 and 2020.

Most implicated officers escaped being held accountable for these incidents. Shembeni, an EFF MP, said police officers who had been employed with a criminal background continued with their unprincipled conduct within the service because “once a criminal, always a criminal”.

A case in point is where eight Durban-based public order policing members were linked to allegations of conducting a rogue raid and theft of R140 000 in the early hours of August 20 from a Ngubane family suspected of drug dealing.

Ipid has referred this matter to its provincial department to look into. Siyabonga Ngubane, 51, and two of his family members were arrested and allegedly severely beaten in a bid to force them to confess.

| Investigations Unit – [email protected]

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