SAPS in the Eastern Cape has paid out civil claims in excess of R45 million for the 2018/19 financial year. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Port Elizabeth - The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Eastern Cape has paid out civil claims in excess of R45 million for the 2018/19 financial year. 

That is according to MEC for Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana, who was responding to a written question posed by the Democratic Alliance (DA). 

According to the DA, this is up by R6-million from the claims paid in the 2017/18 financial year, and nearly R11-million more than what was paid out in 2016/17. 

In a statement on Thursday, DA MPL Bobby Stevenson said that a pending R2,3 billion in current claims against the police in the Eastern Cape was a shocking indictment on the state of policing in the province. 

"This is an extremely disturbing trend which underlines the importance of the need for a human rights culture and professional SAPS in the Eastern Cape."

The breakdown of claims paints a picture of a police service that is not upholding the law and respecting the rights of people. 

Stevenson said that figures paid out for the 2018/19 year included:

-R26,1 million paid out for Arrest and Detention 

-R7,3 million paid out for Shooting 

-R3,3 million paid out for General Damages 

-R2,2 million paid out for Negligence 

-R2,1 million paid out for Assault 

-R1,3 million paid out for Search and Seizure 

-R1,1 million paid out for Collisions 

"The police commissioner needs to account to the Provincial Legislature on what steps are being taken to arrest this trend. The Portfolio Committee of Safety and Security should also interact with SAPS on a quarterly basis to exercise its oversight authority." 

Stevenson said that communities did not feel safe and were living in fear at their homes: "From the ganglands of the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth to the rural towns and villages, there is a cry for safer streets," Stevenson said.

African News Agency (ANA)