KZN’s criminal cops: DA demand answers

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety

The Democratic Alliance has submitted a written parliamentary question to KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety MEC, Willies Mchunu, aimed at determining whether he has any plans to sack 173 police officers with criminal records stationed in the province.

The question comes after last week’s shock revelation that, despite having been found guilty of a crime, 1 448 SAPS members in the country remain employed within the force.  According to an audit, Gauteng has the highest number of corrupt officers with 325, followed by the Eastern Cape with 207 and KwaZulu-Natal with 173. Included are police top brass which has raised questions around the vetting of individuals before they enter the system.

The DA is appalled by this information.  One criminal cop is one too many and we expect the MEC to answer the following questions;

  • Will these officers be dismissed?
  • Where are they currently stationed?
  • What ranks do they hold?
  • What are the crimes that they have been found guilty of?

In August 2010, the DA revealed that a staggering 152 KZN police officers had appeared in court since the beginning of that year on charges including murder, attempted murder, rape and drunken driving.  A further 72 officers had been charged with similar offences and were yet to appear in court. At the time only one police officer had been dismissed.

The DA recently tabled the KZN Community Safety Bill.  This Bill aims to make police more accountable to the safety needs of communities, seeks to establish a provincial police ombudsman with the ability to investigate complaints of police inefficiency or distrust in communities, direct any person to provide them with evidence, make recommendations to the Safety MEC and provides them with the ability to refer complaints to other relevant bodies.  It will also allow the MEC to demand mandatory reports from the Provincial Police Commissioner on deaths caused by police activity, all criminal cases being investigated and convictions achieved; firearms lost or any other matter relating to the efficiency of the police’s relationship with communities

Given the crisis that has now presented itself, this Bill is precisely what KwaZulu-Natal needs. Police officers deal with vulnerable citizens on a daily basis and are here to uphold the rule of law in our province.  We cannot have a situation where they themselves are the perpetrators of crime.

The MEC must answer the questions submitted today in an open and honest manner.  This information is in the interests of the KwaZulu-Natal public and the DA expects nothing less than complete transparency.