Po­lice bru­tal­ity deaths soar, says watch­dog

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

A RE­PORT by the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid) has re­vealed shock­ing in­creases in the num­ber of peo­ple who die in cus­tody as a re­sult of po­lice abuse.

The Ipid re­port, which will be dis­cussed by the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on po­lice to­mor­row, showed that of­fences com­mit­ted by the po­lice have shot up over the past year.

The re­port found there were 159 deaths as a re­sult of po­lice ac­tion, but this num­ber went up to 207 this year, which Ipid said was a 30% in­crease.

The po­lice watch­dog also found that mem­bers of the SAPS were in­volved in 51 rape in­ci­dents, 61 of tor­ture, 66 cor­rup­tion cases and 159 other crim­i­nal cases.

The re­port said “deaths in po­lice cus­tody con­trib­uted to 43%, while deaths as a re­sult of po­lice bru­tal­ity con­trib­uted 57%” of the to­tal num­ber of deaths”.

It noted that Gaut­eng had the high­est num­ber of peo­ple who died due to po­lice bru­tal­ity, with 59 deaths in the prov­ince, an in­crease from 45 deaths recorded last year.

KwaZulu-Natal fol­lowed with 51 peo­ple killed at the hands of the po­lice this year, com­pared to 48 last year.

Ipid re­port shows a shock­ing 30% in­crease in deaths in cus­tody

In the Free State, 42 peo­ple died. This was a huge in­crease from the 20 peo­ple a year ago.

In the Western Cape, the num­ber of peo­ple who died as a re­sult of po­lice ac­tion was much lower, with 20 recorded com­pared to 17 last year.

In Mpumalanga, 12 deaths were recorded com­pared to 10 a year ago.

North West recorded five deaths this year, a slight de­crease from six peo­ple who were killed in 2016.

In the North­ern Cape, the num­bers were lower with four deaths recorded this year. This was an in­crease from two peo­ple who died dur­ing the same pe­riod last year.

As for rape cases, there were 51 cases re­ported in­volv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

The of­fences were com­mit­ted by both on-duty and off-duty po­lice of­fi­cers.

Gaut­eng had the high­est num­ber of of­fi­cers who were in­volved in in­ci­dents of rape, with 15 cases re­ported against them.

The Western Cape fol­lowed with 10 cases, then KZN and the Eastern Cape with seven cases each.

The Free State and Mpumalanga re­ported three cases each.

Po­lice in the North­ern Cape and North West were implicated in two rape cases listed in each prov­ince.

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