Looting of Shops - IPID Asked to Investigate Apparent Lack of Policing
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Following media reports about the looting of a number of "spaza" shops in several Western Cape communities yesterday, with photo evidence showing what appears to be the South African Police Service (SAPS) standing by and doing nothing, I will be asking the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to investigate the situation and take the necessary action where any negligence or wrongdoing is identified.
If police did indeed stand by and do nothing more than watch while thugs damaged property and stole groceries, I want to see these policemen and policewomen charged with negligence. While some reports tell of police vans racing from one to scene to another, there is clear photo evidence showing police standing by while looters damage property.
Police are meant to prevent and combat crime, maintain public order and protect and secure the inhabitants of our province - it would appear that they failed to do so yesterday.
I have requested the photo evidence from the different media bodies so that I can attach these to the letter I will be sending to the head of the IPID in the Western Cape. Faces are easily identifiable in these photos.
From the media reports and photo evidence, it appears that SAPS was unable to control the situation, and failed to protect the store owners and their goods. Top of my agenda in my next meeting with the Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, will be to take up this matter and find out whether SAPS has sufficient capacity, whether any arrests were made and why it appears that the SAPS officers took little to no action at times.
Bishop Lavis Police Station was identified by General Lamoer as part of his Project 23 - police stations that have been prioritised to receive attention. Yesterday's events clearly demonstrated that this station needs urgent intervention. We welcome that SAPS top management has already identified this station as needing serious attention.
The Western Cape should be a place where every community in the province has a safe place in which to live, work, learn, relax and move about. I want the IPID to conduct a full investigation into this apparent poor policing so that people in this province can feel safe.
Media Liaison Officer
Cell: 072 623 4499