DA wants ombud for Limpopo police ‘inefficiencies’

2013-04-16 14:32

The Democratic Alliance will tomorrow table a private member’s bill in the Limpopo legislature that proposes an independent police ombud to investigate complaints about police inefficiencies.

During a press conference today, the party’s spokesperson, Langa Bodlani, said: “Currently, there is nobody authorised to deal with police inadequacies. If the police fail to handle a case professionally and efficiently, you can’t report them to anyone.

“You have to go back to the commissioner of the station who can actually block investigations. The Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) also turns people away, saying they deal with cases involving police brutality.”

Should the ruling ANC allow the Limpopo Community Safety Bill to go through, the province will also see the following changes:

» The shifting of power to determine policing needs from the national commissioner and minister to the province and local communities;

» The MEC will have powers to accredit neighbourhood watches and provide support, training and resources where necessary;

» Mandatory crime statistics to be forwarded to the MEC by the police in the province, instead of waiting for their annual release by police minister Nathi Mthethwa; and

» The establishment of an advisory council which will be expected to advise the MEC and provincial commissioner on issues relating to crime trends and policing.

Bodlani said the advisory council could include criminologists, chiefs, traditional leaders, social workers and criminal psychologists.

“We also propose the establishment and accreditation of community watches and community policing forums. Currently these are not working well and are collapsing because there is no cohesion in dealing with them.”

The DA has already tabled a similar bill in the K­waZulu-Natal legislature and it has been signed into law in the Western Cape, where the party rules.

The party’s caucus leader in the Limpopo Legislature, Desiree van der Walt, said similar bills will be tabled in all legislatures across the country.

“I strongly believe that surely in the ANC there must be colleagues who want to see crime statistics go down. Surely, they should support this. Crime is a major issue for many people in the country, hence the bill.”

The Constitution, she said, does make provisions for an MEC to take control of certain issues related to crime prevention and policing. The party would lobby businesses, chiefs, communities and other stakeholders to support the bill, she said.

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