'SAPS failing the country in the way it has handled errant cops'
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Cape Town - The DA’s provincial social development spokesperson Gillion Bosman said police are failing the country in the way it has handled the errant cops.
Bosman said a recent parliamentary reply indicated that since 2012, 59 police officers were charged with sexual assault, out of 2 057 officers who were charged with violent misconduct in the Western Cape.
“The breakdown of the disciplinary actions per offence is inconsistent. The reply from SAPS indicates that all 59 officers faced disciplinary action but later states that four of these officers had ‘no steps taken against them.
“I have submitted further questions to SAPS through parliament to ascertain how these four officers were indeed disciplined with no steps taken against them, and more importantly, why there was no action taken in this regard.”
“SAPS stipulated that their ‘consequence management’ serves to prevent police officers from engaging in sexual misconduct, which is vague and ineffective considering the facts. Between the 59 officers charged with sexual assault since 2012, and the current DNA case backlog of over 27 000 specimens related to sexual offences, conditions for women in our country remain severe.”
“National Government has failed to enforce discipline within the police force, resulting in a situation where women cannot trust the people sworn to protect them,” said Bosman.
Anti-Gender-based violence (GBV) organisation Ilitha Labantu said that it was deeply concerned by the lack of disciplinary action taken against police offenders found guilty of committing crimes, particularly heinous crimes.
Spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said: "Our police officers ought to be fulfilling their mandate of serving and protecting citizens against these crimes. Thus, we expect SAPS to have unambiguous guidelines for actions taken against police officers who commit such crimes.
“We are doing the nation and its people a great disservice if we allow police officers to get away with committing such crimes. Those found guilty should face the full might of the law.”
The Cape Argus posed several questions to SAPS regarding the statements made by Bosman. However, SAPS refused to comment.
Spokesperson Andrè Traut said: “Please be advised that the matter you are making enquiries about is part of a SAPS, Western Cape response to parliamentary questions submitted to the SAPS in September 2021.
“We have taken note of the media release issued on Tuesday, 9 November 2021, by the member of the provincial parliament, Mr Gillion Bosman. The media release refers to supplementary question’s that have been submitted to SAPS via provincial parliament. The SAPS will duly respond to the questions posed and refrain from jeopardising that by commenting on the media.”