SAPS complaints up

2013-10-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Complaints against members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) have increased by 37% in the past financial year compared to 2011-12.

The Indepedent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) tabled its annual report in Parliament yesterday.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were responsible for the most deaths in police custody and deaths following police actions. IPID reported that 431 people had died following police action in the past year, with Marikana in the North West contributing the biggest single number of fatalities.

KwaZulu-Natal also had the most complaints of corruption, with 56 of the national total of 120 reported cases.

Western Cape police officers caused the most complaints of assault, rape and pointing of an official firearm.

The Free State had the most complaints of failure to report cases.

Statistics from the 2012-13 annual report of the directorate show that the number of complaints has increased from 4 923 in the previous year to 6 728 complaints in 2012-13.

In total, the Western Cape had the most complaints (1 640), followed by Gauteng (1 139), the Free State (1 010), KwaZulu-Natal (772), the Eastern Cape (708), Limpopo (416), the North West (377), Mpumalanga (360) and the Northern Cape (306).

Amost two thirds (61%) of the 4 131 complaints investigated against police officers were for assault.

Criminal cases made up 703 of the complaints — 670 were for pointing of a firearm; and 431 for deaths in police custody.

• In a related development, the IFP yesterday called on IPID to investigate police officers shooting live ammunition on protesters during housing protests at the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban, allegedly causing the death of a 17-year-old schoolgirl.

IFP spokesperson on human settlements Petros Sithole expressed condolences to the family of Nqobile Nzuza and asked residents of Cato Crest to remain calm and allow the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to deal with this matter.

Sithole said it was entirely wrong for the police to have used live ammunition to disperse the protesters.

“It is always said that police should not use live ammunition when they intervene in protests because they are likely to kill people. All police officers require more training in crowd dispersion techniques in order to avoid unnecessary deaths of innocent people.”

SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said it was not known which of the two policemen who had responded to the protest had fatally wounded Nqobile, but both were traumatised and receiving counselling.

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