Negligent cops - dept taps into pensions

2012-02-07 22:09

Mbombela - Any police officer whose negligent actions cost the state money in civil claims will be expected to pay part of the claim from their own pocket.

Some Mpumalanga cops have already learnt the hard way. Upon retirement, they discovered that the state had recovered some of the legal costs from their retirement funds.

"Yes, pension funds are being affected, but that is not the only action we take against an officer who is found guilty.

"There are internal disciplinary actions that may lead to the officer losing his/her job or being sentenced by the court," said police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi on Tuesday.

Mnisi said negligence was unacceptable within police ranks.

He said the minister’s office had given station commanders across the country a mandate to curb lawlessness amongst their police officers.

"We decided that principles need to be upheld from the ground, which is at the police stations, where station commanders and senior leaders need to always intensify respect for human rights.

"When police do their work they must work in line with the constitution of the country," said Mnisi.

Last year November, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told parliament that the state had lost more than R100m in legal costs involving civil claims.

"A total amount of R106 239 616.81 was paid in legal costs as a result of 8 074 civil claims brought against the [police] for the 2010/11 financial year," said Mthethwa.

"Payment of legal costs is not linked to a particular police station but if an officer is sued for whatever act of misconduct, it is the state that suffers financially and we cannot allow such things to become norm."

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesperson Moses Dlamini said in the 2010/2011 financial year more than 6 000 cases reported against police officers were completed.

"In the more than 6 000 cases we completed most of them were attempted murder and assault," said Dlamini.

He further said that while police are allowed to use force, they should do so with caution.

"We know that police are allowed to use force in order to enforce the law, but the force used must be proportional to the circumstances taking place,” said Dlamini.

  • Alex - 2012-02-07 22:15

    Should apply to politicians.

  • Geoffrey - 2012-02-07 22:21

    "F"ing disgrace !!!!!!!

  • Bokfan - 2012-02-07 22:25

    Brilliant. We have all been waiting for some form of personal liability for these govidiot freeriders. Now let it apply to all in the nation's service.

  • Cracker - 2012-02-07 22:34

    Pure negligence? No, not such a good idea to hold the officers liable. We may be faced with a situation that they evade their duties out of fear that they may be held liable. Dereliction of duty? Definitely hold them liable. it is not the same as negligence. One hopes. BUT deliberate abuse of powers - even out of plain stupidity - must be taken for what it is: intention. Hold them personally liable and kick them out. We do not need them. The country is not their personal kraal.

  • Michele - 2012-02-07 22:44

    I have a few problems with this. Firstly it's doesn't cost the state, it costs us, the taxpayers. Secondly, I don't think it should be taken off their pension. Revolting money grabbing, power hungry police in uniform should be made to pay there and then. Thirdly, if a tax payer is abused by a money grubbing power hungry revolting police officer, why should they pay for his defense in the first place?

  • pietopper - 2012-02-07 22:52

    I stand to be corrected, but dipping into a person's pension fund is illegal, even in the case of a garnishee.

      Erich - 2012-02-08 08:02

      I am inclined to agree. Even if it is legal to attach the proceeds of the pension fund the rules of natural justice should be applied which includes, inter alia, the audi alterem partem (hear the other party) rule. It could become an expensive exercise. I am not against the principle but have my doubts if is practical and if the courts will rule in favour of this practice if contested.

  • Berthram Bowles - 2012-02-07 23:13

    What's good for the geese is good for the gander? Right? Uhm how about negligent politicians?? Or even deliberate politicians. As far as I know R100m is pocket money compared to what they cost the state! I mean look at that "higher than thou art" lady that cost us taxpayers hundreds of thousands of rands so that she can sleep in a comfier bed in a more upmarkety guesthouse through the world cup... Good to start with cops but follow through and apply the rules to all who are quilty. But I guess that's why the info bill is there _ so that we do not know what we pay for... #justsayin

  • braamc - 2012-02-08 03:14

    Have a good look at your employment strategies, further on train, train, train. Built a credible force, well looking at the appointments at the top, one "half dead" and not in jail, the other one so corrupt and suspended. Almost feel sorry for the force - not

  • Clive - 2012-02-08 05:50

    I wonder if Selebi has had his pension "docked " or is he too special ?

  • braamc - 2012-02-08 06:22

    The expectations are high, understandable with this lawless society and thieving government setting such bad examples. Open "flood gates", our boarders that is open for anyone to enter, poverty, unemployment and general deterioration of services and communities some of the problems - solutions, we as a nation has to turn it around, starting with ourselves, effective structures, procedures and political will to serve and protect

  • Wayne - 2012-02-08 06:45

    Good call. Now lets apply the same principles to politicians and all other civil servants.

  • duncan.cramer - 2012-02-08 08:59

    Mthethwa said regarding payment of legal costs "it is the state that suffers financially and we cannot allow such things to become norm." Uhh. No. It's not the state that suffers. its the tax payers and the poor who suffer. This government needs to learn that they are not the state. The people of SA are the state.

  • lhfick - 2012-02-08 09:32

    I have no idea how they plan on doing this, because in the latest GEPF news letter it was stated that they are using the fund to invest in several low cost housing developments. That is not investing, but frightening! What are we paying tax for? I have 25 years under the belt and I think it might just be better for myself if I leave and become the full time photographer and journalist that I always wanted to be. At least I`ll get my pension money.

  • Zebelon - 2012-02-08 15:21

    In terms of what section, of what law is the alleged retrieving of legal costs effected from pensions? In what way? Mnisi must be confused; retirement money does not all go to the pension fund, and the portion that has to be a contribution to the pension fund is not affected. Mnisi should not be saying "pension fund" when he refers to retirement lump sum.

  • Zebelon - 2012-02-08 15:29

    If there is now a ruling to retrieve some of the money lost in claims in terms of the Civil Service Act, surely, this will be applicable to workers in all other departments of the existing government; they are all governed by the same act - and this will be something wonderful in terms of stopping misconduct and helping the taxpayer.

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