Proposed changes to police act to be published for public comment

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Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Police Minister Bheki Cele.

  • The Police Ministry is pleased that the SAPS Amendment Bill is ready for public comment.
  • The bill includes a ban on live ammunition in crowd control and a ban on lethal force when protecting property. 
  • It also strengthens vetting and integrity testing of police officers and new recruits may have to give a DNA sample.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has welcomed Cabinet's approval of the publication of the SA Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill for public comment. 

READ | Police committee welcomes the enactment of IPID amendment bill

In a statement, Cele said the amendments were "long overdue" as the current SAPS Act predated the Constitution. 

Some of the amendments include:

  • Vetting and integrity testing those employed within police under the SAPS Act, through lifestyle audits and conflict of interest. 
  • Police recruits will be expected to submit a buccal sample (cheek swab) for DNA testing.
  • It will empower the police minister to make regulations for the roles, functions, duties and obligations, requirements for appointment, and disciplinary matters of deputy national and divisional commissioners.
  • It seeks to enhance community policing and oversight of community policing forums over the police.
  • The co-ordination between the police service and municipal police services needs to be improved in terms of the concept of a single police service.
  • It will enhance the framework for the establishment, powers, functions and control of municipal police services.
  • It will address operational concerns over non-notification of intended gatherings under the Regulations of Gatherings Act. 
  • It will give effect to the Farlam Commission recommendations, including the assurance that no automatic rifles may be used in crowd control, and that lethal force may not be used for protection of property.
  • However, if life and property are endangered simultaneously, use of lethal force will be warranted. 

"These amendments make room for accountability and discipline within the police service and I believe they will go a long way in ensuring that the SAPS better serves the people of this country, whilst at the same time, boost the trust between communities and the men and women in blue," Cele said. 

It will published in the Government Gazette and public comment is encouraged. 

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