The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the Western Cape Police Ombudsman’s (WCPO) investigation into allegations of unacceptable behaviour by members of Muizenberg SAPS and calls on members of the public who experience such to come forward and report it to the WCPO.
Minister Fritz wrote to the office of the WCPO noting reported incidents of police inefficiencies on 11 May 2020 where a senior police officer allegedly threatened an elderly woman, a pregnant woman and several Muizenberg residents. It was further reported on 23 April 2020, that a Lavender Hill mother was left bruised and humiliated after Steenberg police officers allegedly arrested, physically assaulted and spat in her face when she went to seek help at the police station.
Minister Fritz said, “On 11 May 2020, I wrote to the WCPO, Mr J.J. Brand, regarding the numerous complaints of police inefficiencies reported during the lockdown period at Muizenberg and Steenberg SAPS and requested an investigation into these allegations in terms of section 17 of the Western Cape Community Safety Act (the Act).”
A further request for an investigation was received from the Chief Whip of Provincial Parliament, Ms. Mireille Wenger, on the 28 May 2020.
Minister Fritz said, “Of course, reports of police inefficiencies are not limited to Muizenberg or Steenberg SAPS alone and there are in fact reported cases of police inefficiencies from across the province. I call on residents who experience such to immediately come forward and report it to the office of the WCPO. It is unacceptable that certain members of SAPS should act so aggressively towards the residents that they are duty-bound to serve. Now I must add that by and large, we can be proud of our police officers who serve us and make us safer in a tireless and dedicated manner. We are concerned about a few instances in which this is not the case, and each instance deserves our attention.”
Minister Fritz added, “In terms of methodology, section 17(10) of the Act requires investigations to be coordinated by the WCPO to ensure no unnecessary duplication. The WCPO decided not to register another complaint in terms of sections 16(2) and 17(2) of the Act, but rather to consult the individual complainants and requested them to submit individual complaints in terms of sections 16(1) and 17(1).”
Minister Fritz further added “I have subsequently referred the findings to the office of the Provincial Commissioner in line with the WCPO’s recommendation that the Provincial Commissioner of SAPS in the Western Cape take appropriate steps to address the highlighted inefficiencies in the complaint. In terms of section 19(4) of the Act, I have requested her office to furnish me with the actions her office will take to address the inefficiencies.”
Minister Fritz further continued, “I wish to commend the WCPO, Mr Brand, and his office on their investigation into the reports of police inefficiencies at Steenberg and Muizenberg SAPS. As a province, we are fortunate to have invaluable resource which guides us in conducting investigations into reports of police inefficiencies and barriers in community and police relations.”
Attention broadcasters, please see English audio clip: https://clyp.it/pefj35ul
Contact details for the Western Cape Police Ombudsman: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/police-ombudsman/contact-us