- A new, toll-free number has been launched where the public can report alleged criminality or negligence by police officers.
- Police Minister Bheki Cele has encouraged people to use the number and says crooked cops must be brought to book.
- According to IPID, this toll-free number will ensure that no alleged police misconduct goes unreported due to lack of access or resources.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, together with the executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Jennifer Ntlatseng, on Monday announced the launch of a new toll-free number that the public can use to report criminality by police officers.
According to IPID, this toll-free number will ensure that no alleged police misconduct goes unreported due to lack of access or resources.
"While I am confident that a majority of the men and women in blue are good, hard-working, dedicated and honest officers, unfortunately some of our own do disgrace us by their actions that bring the service into disrepute," Cele said at a media briefing on Monday.
"As we all know, police misconduct - whether alleged or proven - has a negative impact on our society. Any transgression committed by any officer of the law erodes the trust and confidence communities have towards the police.
"Many of these police-turned-criminals have been brought before the courts. Some wrongdoing is brought to light by members of the public. Communities also continue to blow the whistle on sub-standard services they at times receive at police stations.
Crooked cops have no place in SA
"These officers of the law who choose to go against the very oaths they took to protect and to serve, [and] don't have a place in the SAPS [South African Police Service]. It is on this score that the IPID is mandated to conduct independent and impartial investigations of criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the SAPS and the municipal police. The bottom line is that the IPID keeps the police in check at all times," Cele said.
He said IPID had in the past arrested officers implicated in alleged corruption, and those violating their constitutional mandate.
"Whatever the case, IPID is required to exercise its powers fairly, impartially and without fear, favour or bias."
Cele then proceeded to announce the new toll-free number, which he said would give citizens direct access to IPID to ensure accountability in the police service. The number is 0800 111 969.
"With the launch of this hotline number, communities will have better access to justice and recourse. I urge all South Africans to use this number wisely and responsibly."
Cele added that findings of investigations should be concluded timeously, so that those found guilty could be brought to book and officers proven innocent could return to their posts.
He also thanked Ntlatseng, saying he was confident she would "steer the ship in the right direction and bring much-needed stability to this organisation".
'We are ready to deal with police misconduct'
Ntlatseng said the number would be user friendly and easy to use.
"We will be dealing with cases of police misconduct - any behaviour by police as the minister indicated. Secondly, it's death in custody, death as a result of police action, pointing of firearms by the police, rape, torture and assault, corruption, and police involvement in drugs.
"In line with [President Cyril Ramaphosa's] call to deal with gender-based violence (GBV) - we want people to call and tell us which officers are involved in GBV, that is important."
She said the toll-free number would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We will make sure that we provide a quality service. We are also encouraging whistle-blowing, but more than anything else, this is about improving justice and recourse to our own people.
"We are ready. We are saying to the public, we are willing to deal with any case that relates to police misconduct."
*This article has been amended to add the correct number: 0800 111 969
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