Cele called to account for why police officers guilty of misconduct only receive warnings

Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele will be called to give an account for why members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) found guilty of charges of rape and murder only received lenient penalties. 

According to a report filed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) submitted to Parliament, it has been found that some officers who have been found guilty of these heavy offenses have only received written or verbal warnings, or fines.

“The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to request that he urgently summon the Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to explain how it is possible..” the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Police said in a statement.

According to the report, 180 SAPS members were “found guilty in disciplinary hearings by SAPS on various misconduct charges and the penalties awarded for serious charges such as murder and rape ranged from written and verbal warnings, fines, and corrective counseling”.

“Police members who have been found guilty of rape or murder have no place in the SAPS and must be dismissed immediately,” the DA Shadow Minister of Police said.

Mbhele further called it a “direct indictment” on the police minister and the African National Congress for “failing to professionalize the SAPS so that they can protect the most vulnerable in our society”.

Mbhele revealed that according to the report, in places like Kwanyamazane, Watervalboven, and Greylingstad in the Mpumalanga province, SAPS members found guilty of murder, only received final written warnings and a R500 fine.

A SAPS member from Mhala reportedly received a written warning after being found guilty of rape.

IPID also found that reports of torture by police had increased by 43 percent from 2016/17 to 2017/18.

“This is entirely unacceptable and reiterates the DA’s call for a comprehensive overhaul of SAPS leadership. If we have as much to fear from the SAPS as we do from criminals, there is no hope of bringing down the already unacceptability high levels of violent crime in our country,” Mbhele warned.

He concluded that an “effective and professional SAPS must be Minister Cele’s priority” and as such, the DA has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, requesting that the police minister is summoned to be Parliament immediately to explain the report.