The Democratic Alliance is concerned that during the period of April-September 2018, only 894 out of 6 153 cases reported to the Independent Police Investigation Directorate were completed.
This translates to a worrisome 14.5% of completed cases.
“These findings come as no surprise to the DA, as we have constantly reiterated that there is a desperate need for greater IPID resourcing, through a larger budget allocation. Just last week this very issue was raised in the Police Budget Debate and a budget amendment was tabled at the Appropriations Committee to allocate an additional R 300 Million to IPID a for investigations. Without better resourcing, IPID is wholly under-capacitated, and lacking in the basic personnel required to investigate the cases brought to them,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.
In its report, IPID conceded that budget and personnel constraints have “adversely impacted on the performance of the Directorate”. Currently, IPID only has 2 519 staff members when it should have 5 332.
This very large case backlog undermines IPID’s ability to be an effective watchdog in holding our police accountable, and it hampers efforts to create an honest and professional police service.
Furthermore, the Half Year Report has indicated that there has been a 66% increase of reports of torture, cases of rape by a police officer has increased by 12% and corruption cases against police officers has increased by 6%.
There is no doubt that the need for police oversight is crucial and cannot be subject to a poor budget allocation.
“An additional contributing factor to IPID’s inability to function effectively is its lack of a permanent Head. In a recent Portfolio Committee Meeting for Police, the DA requested that the Chairperson, Tina Joemat Pettersson, summon the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to report on the appointment of an IPID Head before the end of July.
The 31st of this month will serve as the end of the term of the current incumbent IPID Head. The Chairperson agreed to this call by the DA, but there are no scheduled meetings for the Portfolio Committee until August.
Without strong leadership, and appropriate funding, how can IPID be expected to function successfully and provide a sensible degree of oversight, to ensure SAPS is an honest and professional police service?
The DA will once more agitate for increased funding for IPID, and for the placement of a committed, independent and decisive leader as its Head.
South Africans deserve an honest and professional police service, which in part requires the oversight and investigation of police wrongdoing to be effective,” added Whitfield.