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Civil claims against Eastern Cape police skyrocket - DA

May 26, 2020
Civil claims against Eastern Cape police skyrocket - DA

Bhisho - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says claims against the Eastern Cape Police Service have skyrocketed, with over R62,8-million paid out in the first ten months of the 2019/2020 financial year, which is already R17 million more than the year before.

"These payouts are for just 658 claims that have been finalized. There are still 8,216 claims pending against the EC SAPS.

"Even more concerning is that these claims could escalate exponentially, based on reports of heavy-handed police tactics since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, that has already seen 18 465 people arrested for contravention of lockdown regulations in the province," said Bobby Stevenson, DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Safety and Security.

The latest figures relating to claims against the police were revealed by the MEC of Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, in response to a parliamentary question.

"MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe revealed that 1840 claims have been lodged against the EC SAPS in the first 10 months of the 2019/20 financial year, including 1,166 for wrongful arrest and detention, 80 for collisions, 54 for wrongful search and seizures, 206 for assault, 80 for shootings, 4 for loss or damage to property, 104 for defamation, 11 for negligence 132 for police action requiring general compensation of special damages, and 8 other cases not specified," said Stevenson.

See: IQP 1 q 24

"In the 2018/19 financial year, R45 million was paid out in claims against the police, with the total amount of pending claims amounting to R2.3 billion," he added.

See: IQP 5 qq 70

"The breakdown of claims paints a picture of the police service that is clearly not upholding the law and respecting the rights of people.

"The Democratic Alliance would like to remind the MEC and SAPS of the recent Khosa judgement, wherein judge Hans Fabricius directed that if any members of SAPS have failed to report, repress or prevent any acts of torture, cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, then they will be exposed to criminal, civil or disciplinary sanctions," Stevenson described.

"The provincial police commissioner needs to account to the Eastern Cape Legislature on what steps are being taken to arrest this trend.

"The DA believes that there needs to by psychometric testing for SAPS members upon recruitment, to ensure that the appointed members have a passion for serving their communities, rather than terrorizing them.

"The DA is committed to building a safer province for all and using its position in the provincial legislature to ensure that we have a police service with a strong human rights culture."

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