Cops spend R7.5bn on claims
Johannesburg - The SA Police Service (SAPS) annual report for 2008/9 shows that R7.5bn of its budget was spent on civil claims, the DA said on Thursday.
The Democratic Alliance's MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement that the amount was equivalent to 18% of the total SAPS budget.
"This is an astonishing figure and reveals just how exceptionally mismanaged and unaccountable the police service has become in recent years," she said.
Barnard said given these figures, the DA reiterated its call for the immediate resignation of the head of the SAPS Legal Services Division, Lindiwe Mtimkulu.
Run to the ground
She said Mtimkulu "has quite clearly run SAPS Legal Services into the ground".
The recent total claims figure is up from R5.7bn last year, which means they it increased by 31% in 12 months.
These claims included assault, shootings, damage to property, police actions, vehicle accidents and legal costs.
"To put in context just how enormous this amount is, consider that it could have paid for another 75 000 additional police officers to be on our streets protecting our citizens this year," she said.
Bernard said in other words, the inability of the SAPS to hold its own officers to account constituted one of the most significant impediments to expanding and improving the quality of policing.
"What is even more shocking is that the ANC government continues to do everything in its power to prevent the police watchdog, the Independent Complaints Directorate [ICD] from getting the teeth it needs," she said.
The police department said it would issue a statement later in the day.