Struggling IPID's budget less than Nkandla upgrades cost

2017-06-28 07:25
Robert McBride (File).

Robert McBride (File).

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Cape Town - The investigative unit tasked with probing instances of police misconduct has a budget less than the cost of security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

An IPID delegation told the portfolio committee on police on Tuesday that the unit is punching above its weight amid a 21% increase in reported cases in the last two quarters.

IPID head Robert McBride told MPs that they had to put some projects on the backburner in the last financial year to ensure they did not overspend more than their R242m budget.

Security upgrades to the president's homestead had cost a reported R246m.

"The impact of IPID in any event has been exponentially better than in previous years," McBride said of their strained budget.

"IPID has become a household name, we are receiving more and more complaints."

McBride said IPID has sustained itself by going for big cases which have high impact, but that it was not sustainable long term.

IPID chief financial officer Lindokuhle Ngcongo said the unit was in need of additional funding to sustain its current and future operations.

"Continuous reduction of the IPID's limited budget will only affect the department's ability to meet its Constitutional mandate," she said.

New Police Minister Fikile Mbalula admitted in May that IPID has been underfunded in recent years, and wants to see a functioning IPID.

Rape cases a concern

The delegation also revealed statistics from its Section 9 reports for the last two quarters. It had an overall 21% increase in reported cases.

It had a total of 3313 cases for the first half of 2016/17, compared to 2739 in the previous comparable period, an increase of 21%.

Of those, 66% had been completed and "decision ready".

The charges range from deaths in police custody, discharge of a firearm, torture, assault, corruption, and rape.

Of worry to the committee were the number of rape cases reported at the hands of police officials.

There were 51 cases of rapes by police officers in the period.

Thirty-four had been successfully investigated and "decision ready", but only 17 of those cases were recommended for disciplinary action, and only 3 recommended for criminal action.

A further seven were alleged to have taken place while in police custody, six of which were "decision ready".

"Again, it's totally unacceptable. Youths and young people are the victims in many cases. One rape is one rape too many," committee chairperson Francois Beukman said.

He asked that IPID follow up if there was a pattern at certain stations.

'Disciplinary action, criminal convictions'

There had also been 66 cases of police corruption reported, of which 25 had become "decision ready" in the period.

In total, IPID recommended 577 of the cases for disciplinary action and 508 for criminal action.

In disciplinary cases, 22 officers had been found guilty and sanctioned, while 375 cases are "awaiting response".

In criminal cases, only five went to prosecution, while 3 were declined to prosecute, and the other 500 "awaiting response".

In the period, and resulting from cases from previous financial years, there was a total of: 86 disciplinary convictions; 87 disciplinary acquittals; 27 criminal convictions; and 25 criminal acquittals.

Sixty-four members had been arrested for different crimes, awaiting their own processes, while 805 matters were on the court roll.

Read more on:    police  |  saps  |  ipid  |  robert mcbride  |  crime

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