WC Police criminality– increased compliance results in fewer rotten apples
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
The latest Annual Report (2014/15) for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) shows that the Western Cape accounts for almost a quarter (24.7%) of all cases reported to the entity responsible for investigating improper and illegal police conduct.
At 1 455 the province shows an increase of 16% year-on-year and almost double the number of reported cases in KwaZulu Natal (882) or Gauteng (824).
The cases in the Western Cape include:
- 32 cases of rape by a police officer, 25% of all cases reported nationally;
- 245 cases of discharge of official firearms, 26% of all cases nationally; and
- 1 078 cases of assault, 29% of all cases nationally.
I welcome the honest reflection of complaints lodged against police in the province as it shows that the people of the Western Cape know that those who serve them in their communities are not above the law.
It also demonstrates the cooperative nature of the Western Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure compliance and to root out the rot among its own. When one looks at the figures, it is clear that there is a far higher level of compliance in the Western Cape than in other provinces, and I welcome this honesty and commitment to root out the bad elements.
The IPID in the province has the highest total workload at 3 106 cases and while they only managed to complete 31% of these, the 971 cases completed are still more than any other province in the country. The efficiency of the IPID in the Western Cape in this regard must be welcomed.
Of the total workload, IPID in the Western Cape managed to complete:
- 49% of complaints of discharge of an official firearm. At 222 cases this is more than any other province in the country;
- 54% of cases of rape by police officers. At 25 cases this is also more than any other province managed to complete in the province; and
- 27% of cases of assault. At 659 cases, this is more than any other province in the country.
Only 5 convictions were secured in the Western Cape during the period under review, which includes one criminal conviction for each of the following: Deaths as a result of police action; Discharge of an official firearm; Rape by a police officer; Assault, and Other criminal offence.
The cause for the high case load in the province needs further investigation and I have today written to the Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile to enquire about the situation.
Too often criminals make wild accusations against the SAPS arresting them in a bid to receive a more lenient sentence or to divert attention. The continuous professionalization of the SAPS in the province can help to quickly dispel unfounded accusations when all provincial SAPS officers follow the letter and spirit of the law. When officers are beyond reproach, false claims can be quickly identified as such.
Those suspects making false accusations should face the full might of the law as they are diverting attention away from those who have suffered under rogue police officers.
Quality policing service delivery requires communities to respect the officers of the law as much as the officers respect the law they are supposed to uphold.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113