80% rise in police brutality in Free State: IPID Report

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The Annual Report of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) indicates an 80% increase in the intake of complaints against the SAPS in the Free State.  Cases of police misconduct in the Free State increased from 562 in the 2011/12 financial year to 1010 in the 2012/13 financial year. Nationally complaints against SAPS members increased by 37%. This is reflected in the table below:

Deaths in police custody

23

Deaths as a result of police action – assaults by fellow inmates, police, or hanging (14 incidents).

31

Complaints of discharge of official firearm

81

Rape by a police officer – 1 on duty and 14 off duty.

15

Rape in custody – 3 by civilians and 2 by SAPS members on and off duty.

5

Assault

730

Corruption – extortion, soliciting a bribe, and sale/theft/destruction of police dockets.

14

Systematic Corruption – manipulation of the system for illicit ain.

2

Non-compliance with IPID Act – not reporting on time, lack of co-operation with IPID.

37

Other criminal offences –

69

Misconduct – mostly improper performance of their functions.

3

TOTAL

1010

 

The IPID did not carry over any cases from 2011/12 to 2012/13. Most concerning is that only 5 disciplinary convictions were received of 88 recommended to the SAPS for action. One was for rape by a police officer and 4 for assault.

The above statistics indicate that not only has there been a dramatic increase in complaints to the IPID against SAPS members, but that the internal SAPS conviction rate for such cases is very low. This indicates that not only is discipline within the SAPS in the Free State declining, but that internal structures and procedures to deal with disciplinary cases are unable or unwilling to obtain convictions in this regard.

Many cases of assault by SAPS members are not reported due to the lack of IPID offices in many areas and a legitimate fear of retribution. Some assault are carried our randomly on the streets, as have already been reported to the DA by witnesses. In many instances the victims are homeless people who have no safe place to report such incidents.

It is concerning that police brutality is on the increase in the Free State. The SAPS is mandated to protect and serve the public. A rot has set in the SAPS and must need be rooted out without delay. We can’t allow crooked cops to tarnish those SAPS members that are dedicated to enforce the law.

I will write to the recently appointed Free State SAPS commissioner, Lt-Gen Simon Mpembe, highlighting our concerns and enquiring after his strategy to deal with problems relating to poor discipline and increased misconduct in our police service in the Free State.

The DA will use every available platform to ensure that urgent action is taken to address police brutality and prosecute those SAPS member found to be guilty of abusing their authority and infringing on the rights of citizens.