New law to curb police corruption welcomed
POLITICAL parties believe a new law, approved by the Cabinet, will bring sweeping changes in the SAPS and prevent malfeasance by officers.
The police have been accused of having pockets of fraud and corruption for years.
A few years ago Parliament demanded answers from the SAPS regarding 1 500 officers who had criminal records. The officers were fired by the SAPS but took their fight to court to appeal against the decision.
It also emerged in a report by the auditor- general in 2017 that several officers were conducted business with the state amounting to millions of rand.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has highlighted that the SAPS Amendment Bill will soon be released for public comment, and that MPS will have an opportunity to engage with the bill once it is officially tabled in the national legislature.
The DA said yesterday that it would not comment on the bill until it had been tabled.
But the IFP and ACDP said they fully supported the bill as it would clamp down on corruption in the SAPS and prevent the use of lethal force during protests.
There have been a number of fatal protests, including at Marikana where 44 miners and security guards were killed in 2012.
IFP MP Zandile Majozi said they believed the bill would help address corruption in the police. She said vetting, which would include lifestyle audits, would be important to identify officers living beyond their means.
“If we have police who are corrupt we must not end there, we must deal with drug dealers in the street,” said Majozi, adding that those working with the police in a corrupt manner must be held to account.
She added that they wanted the police to
When police are not trusted, people will take the law into their own hands Reverend Kenneth Meshoe ACDP LEADER
stop using lethal force during protests.
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said they agree that the bill would help clamp down on corruption in the police. He said there should be no police officers who lived beyond their means, “because when police are not trusted, people will take the law into their own hands”.
Meshoe also said no lethal force must be used during protests, unless it was justifiable.
“We say you don’t need to use lethal force or live ammunition. Unless there is evidence that a person has committed a crime, people should not be shot in the back,” said Meshoe.
Cele, meanwhile, said it was important to deal with the issue of lifestyle audits.
“The amendments seek to address matters of vetting and integrity testing of those employed within the SAPS under the SAPS Act, through lifestyle audits and conflict of interest. Those joining the service will also need to be subjected to processes to ensure the integrity of the organisation is maintained. Police recruits will be expected to also submit a buccal ( cheek) sample for DNA testing.”
He said the bill would also deal with the use of lethal force during protests. This arises from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into Marikana.