Saps liabilities increasing - DA

2012-10-17 22:29
Dianne Kohler Barnard. (Wikipedia)

Dianne Kohler Barnard. (Wikipedia)

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Johannesburg - Financial liabilities and lawsuits incurred by police have quadrupled in the past six years, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.

"The... [SA Police Service annual] report shows the financial implications of the lack of discipline and professionalism in the police service," DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement.

The figure for contingent liabilities - a liability that police might have to pay depending on the outcome of a future event, such as a court case - quadrupled in the past six years from R5.3bn in 2006 to R20.5bn in 2011/2012.

"It now constitutes 32.8% of the SAPS annual budget. The bulk of this... [percentage] is made up of civil claims against the police amounting to R14.8bn," Kohler Barnard said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the police allocated a certain amount of money towards litigation and lawsuits each year, but not all of it was used.

"This is why the management has been able to redirect some of this under-utilised finance to other crime-fighting programmes," he said.

According to the DA, civil claims currently instituted against the police included for this financial year were R1.09bn in claims relating to shooting incidents, R182m for vehicle accidents, R8.2m for damage to state property, and R484m in legal expenses.

It also included R2.7m in claims related to damage to property, R841m relating to assaults, and R11.9bn for other claims relating to "police action".

"These increasing figures, once again, illustrate the effect the militarisation of the SAPS has had on the service. Police officers should not be assaulting or shooting innocent people," Kohler-Barnard said.

Randomly shooting

Mnisi said that if Kohler-Barnard had "substantial evidence" that police were "randomly shooting innocent people", she needed to produce it.

"Why would anyone make a sweeping and generalistic (sic) statement... [as] if the whole 200 000-plus members have shot innocent people?" he asked.

"It is unfair to the many hard-working cops who put their lives at risk to safeguard society."

Kohler-Barnard said she had asked Mthethwa a Parliamentary question in relation to the "demilitarisation" of the police, and would also write to him to find out his plan for demilitarisation as recommended by the National Development Plan.

"The Saps needs to return to its former pre-Cele glory, to a time before he and his cronies instilled a lack of professionalism and culture of police brutality into what should be a police service, and not an apartheid-era force," she said.

Mnisi said managerial practices at police stations were being improved, and the relationship between police and society was being "deepened".

"We have long emphasised that whatever you call police generals, doctors or angels, that is immaterial," he said.

"What becomes crucial is the philosophical orientation of the police officers - to make officers understand their conviction - which is to uphold and respect the Constitution."

- SAPA
Read more on:    saps  |  da  |  dianne kohler barnard  |  johannesburg  |  police  |  politics
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