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Wa Afrika: SAPS members must face disciplinary action

Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Spokesperson on Police
18 November 2012

The Minister of Police has agreed to pay R100 000 in damages for the wrongful arrest of Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, who was arrested and detained by the police for two days in August 2010.

Earlier this month, a Soweto man was paid R90 000 in damages for his unlawful arrest for eating his breakfast at Wimpy and not having a ‘good reason’ for sitting there.

No wonder the contingent liabilities (a liability that an entity may have to pay, depending on the outcome of a future event – such as a court case) for the SAPS have quadrupled over the last six years from R5.3 billion in 2006 to R20.5 billion for 2011/2012.

However, it is not sufficient to pay off citizens for police misconduct. Neither of these cases mentions what disciplinary action is being taken against the officers; in fact, the DA questions whether any disciplinary action is being taken at all. The Minister needs to answer for this growing lack of discipline within the SAPS.

I will be submitting parliamentary questions to determine whether disciplinary action is taken against SAPS members who have been found guilty of unlawful arrests, and the severity of any such action.

Discipline must be restored to the SAPS. They cannot continue to act with impunity and be allowed to get away with it. It is an affront to those SAPS members who conduct themselves lawfully and with integrity.