ICD replacement to probe graft
Durban - An investigation into national police commissioner General Bheki Cele's alleged involvement in a property deal may be one of the tasks of a new body formed to investigate improprieties in the police force, an Institute of Security Studies (ISS) researcher said on Thursday.
"With a new mandate to investigate corruption, the new Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) may be asked to investigate allegations against Cele," said ISS researcher Andrew Faull.
He was speaking at a seminar on IPID's role in fighting corruption in the police force.
IPID will replace the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) before the end of this year.
Faull said all eyes would be on IPID to act on Cele.
ICD failed to investigate Selebi
He said the ICD had failed to investigate allegations of corruption against former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, even though it was given information by the Airports Company South Africa's former security chief Paul O'Sullivan.
"The ICD cleared Selebi without investigating. O'Sullivan took the information to the Scorpions (now disbanded) which secured a conviction," he said, referring to Selebi's conviction and 15 year prison sentence - which he intends appealing.
However, ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the information O'Sullivan gave the ICD was not the same information he gave the Scorpions.
"The information he took to the Scorpions was more comprehensive compared to the [report] he gave to us," he said.
The Sunday Times reported in August that Cele signed a deal to move the police's top brass, including Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, to new offices in an 18-storey building owned by businessman Roux Shabangu.
The newspaper reported that the deal never went out to tender, in breach of Treasury regulations that all contracts over R500 000 must go through a competitive bid process.
The lease transaction was put on hold by Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge after the story was published.
Faull said it would be important for the IPID to be properly capacitated so that it would be able to investigate corruption in the police force.
"IPID members will need specialised skills to investigate corruption properly," he said.
Corruption among traffic officers
Faull and other speakers at the seminar also raised concerns that the implementation of a traffic points demerit system was likely to increase corruption among traffic officers.
The Aarto traffic legislation, which includes the demerits, was to have been implemented in October but has been postponed.
The system penalises motorists for traffic offences with the imposition of demerits, which can lead to the loss of driver's licences.
It was alleged during the seminar that some traffic officers took home around R1 000 from bribes.
Dr Julia Hornberger of the forced migration studies project at the University of the Witwatersrand, said some police officers looked specifically for illegal immigrants because they knew they could force them to pay bribes to avoid deportation.
The Gauteng government spent 26% of its budget on dealing with illegal immigrants, she said.
The seminar ends on Friday.