student arrested in Mthatha riots

SAPS RG-12 ‘Nyala’. Photo: Wikimedia commons

IPID report finds 95% rise in assault cases filed against SAPS officers

A newly-published report has taken a local case study and found that complaints against SAPS officials have almost doubled during lockdown.

student arrested in Mthatha riots

SAPS RG-12 ‘Nyala’. Photo: Wikimedia commons

South Africa is close to completing its second month of lockdown, and although Level 3 looms over the horizon, restrictions on our civil liberties remain in place. SAPS officers have done what they can to maintain the peace, but a few rogue cops have let the side down – with a particular focus on those in KZN.

Assault cases against SAPS officers on the rise

Sharon Hoosen is the DA’s KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety. She says that officers in the province have shown a ‘blatant disregard’ for individuals, and her claims are backed up by IPID’s recently-published figures. The police regulatory body has confirmed that assault cases against law enforcement issues shot-up during lockdown. The data speaks for itself, and even incidents of ‘torture’ are on the rise:

  • May 2020 has seen an increase of 95% in assault cases compared to May 2019 (41 in 2019 and 80 in 2020).
  • April 2020 has seen an increase of 41.6% in assault cases compared to April 2019 (28 in 2019 and 48 in 2020).
  • Figures for officers accused of torture also increased in March and May of this year.

What is causing this spike?

According to Hoosen, the rise in these cases can be put down to a poor ‘interpretation’ of lockdown powers granted to SAPS officers in March. The politician is fuming with those who believe they have an ‘ultimate mandate’:

“These figures reaffirm our concerns when it comes to the heavy-handedness of some law enforcement officers while conducting their duties during lockdown. It is increasingly clear that some law enforcement officers believe that they have the ultimate mandate and that they can simply disregard an individual’s rights.”

“In some instances, officers failed to interpret regulations correctly and ended up in altercations with civilians, who were then arrested and charged. It is little wonder that KZN communities have taken to social media, using various platforms to ensure oppressive force is highly publicised. It’s painted a damning picture of SAPS.”

Sharon Hoosen