Minister Allen asks Police Ombudsman to investigate SAPS' alleged inefficiencies | Western Cape Government


Minister Allen asks Police Ombudsman to investigate SAPS' alleged inefficiencies

22 September 2023

Minister Allen requests Police Ombudsman to investigate SAPS' alleged inefficiencies during Swellendam protests.

On 21 September 2023, I wrote to the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) to request that he investigate various concerns around the operations and deployment of the South African Police Service (SAPS) during the violent and damaging protests which occurred in Swellendam on 16 August and 20 September 2023.

Matters that I have requested be investigated are:

1. SAPS’ utilisation of crime intelligence,

2. whether there were timeous, adequate SAPS response and resourcing, and 

3. the visibility and presence of Public Order Policing Services (POPS).     

The Western Cape is the only province with a dedicated Police Ombudsman, that was created by the Western Cape Community Safety Act of 2013. The Western Cape Police Ombudsman seeks to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the police services and to improve relations between the police and the communities by investigating complaints of police inefficiency and / or a breakdown of relations between the police and any community. 

The damages caused during both protests have severely impacted the functions of the municipality and their ability to respond to service-related matters. Given that SAPS had adequate information, along with the number of protestors expected, it appears as if SAPS was not fully, or if at all prepared to prevent and combat the events which unfolded during these protests, despite prior warning. Millions of rands of damages occurred to public infrastructure and shops were also looted. All of this could have been prevented with an adequate law enforcement presence.

Those responsible for these damages should not only be held criminally liable, but civil claims should also be instituted against them. Protest is recognised as a right in our country’s Constitution; however, infringing on others’ rights and destroying critical public infrastructure is not.

As I await feedback from the (WCPO), I urge SAPS to ensure that their POPS unit has the required resources and equipment so that they are able to swiftly respond to any other similar matters. Our residents deserve to live in communities where peace and order is at all times maintained. 

Media Enquiries: 

Marcellino Martin

Spokesperson for Minister Reagen Allen

082 721 3362 (m)