Police Abuse: 5 years, 30 000 complaints, only 1.3% criminal conviction rate

Police Brutality

The ANC government’s violent record of police abuse and the low rate of convictions is a national disgrace which exposes the ANC’s shameful hypocrisy.

Last week the ANC launched a campaign against police brutality. This, while between 2018 and 2019 almost 6000 South Africans suffered police brutality under the ANC-controlled South African Police Service (SAPS).

This is exactly the same hypocrisy that we see from the ANC when they make bold statements about combatting corruption and graft while their cadres remain the biggest plunderers of state funds.

While the lockdown has seen an increase in complaints of police abuse fueled by Minister Cele’s reckless comments and a state drunk on power, police abuse is nothing new to South Africa.

During the lockdown, between 26 March and 17 April, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IDPID) reported a shocking 30% increase in complaints of police abuse from the same period in 2019.

The DA has done an analysis on the last 5 years of complaints of police abuse referred to IPID. This analysis has exposed a deeply entrenched culture of state sanctioned violence due a lack of accountability and consequence for police abuse and brutality.

Over the last 5 financial years IPID received a total of 29 892 complaints in terms of section 28 and 29 of the IPID Act.

Of these:

  • 27.7% were referred to the NPA for criminal recommendations
  • 25.8% constituted disciplinary recommendations made to SAPS
  • Only 3.9% lead to disciplinary convictions
  • Only 1.3% lead to criminal convictions

The DA has long held the view that there is an urgent need to demilitarize the South African Police Service (SAPS) and strengthen the independence and capacity of IPID.

This is why the DA wants the nomination process for an IPID Head to be independent from the Police Minister and why we have been fighting for the portfolio committee to draft a committee Bill to this effect.

The past week the Chairperson agreed to get legal advice and research on the matter, after which the committee will consider a committee Bill. We will continue to put pressure on the Chair to speed up this process before a new Head is appointed by the Minister. The suffocating violence of the state must come to an end. President Ramaphosa must remove Minister Bheki Cele’s jackboot from the throats of the people.

Andrew Whitfield MP – DA


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