By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison:
IMAGES of an allegedly drunk uniformed police officer – passed out inside a police van in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg with a bottle of alcohol next to him – are deplorable.
The incident, which apparently took place late last week, was captured by a passerby on his cell phone. The pictures have now gone viral on social media.
The officer, who is believed to be from Mid Illovo police station, is alleged to have been in such a drunken state that it took numerous attempts to wake him up from his stupor. To make matters worse he later drove off from the scene.
According to the social media post, local police failed to respond after the matter was reported.
The DA is extremely concerned by this claim. It creates the perception that KZN police are unwilling to act against their own in spite of the fact that South Africa has a huge drinking and driving problem, resulting in hundreds of deaths every year.
In light of the recent deplorable police killings, the alleged behaviour of this individual is also a slap in the face to the many hardworking and dedicated police officers who live and die to keep KZN residents safe.
Even the most basic of laws and by-laws – such as wearing a seat belt, not littering and not using official vehicles for private errands – seem to be ignored, casting a negative light on others.
The DA will be writing to the IPID calling for a comprehensive probe. We expect a swift investigation and for the police officer concerned to be charged with drinking and driving should the findings conclude this was the case.
Police officers are supposed to be role models to society and should maintain the highest ethical standards. If they do not adhere to the rules then how can they expect ordinary citizens to do so?
An efficient and law-abiding police service is the only way to rebuild a relationship of trust between communities and police and to begin to offer a free and fair society with opportunities for all in our province.