More than a thousand police officers with criminal records are to be removed from SAPS after Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, ordered an audit of criminality in SAPS.
The audit identified 1 448 SAPS members as having criminal records. SAPS is in the process of removing 1 017 while another 67 have left the service.
“This action demonstrates that we are making progress in our continuing efforts to rid police ranks of dishonest people. Those with criminal convictions do not belong in the police force. I have made it clear to SAPS I expect zero tolerance with regard to criminality in the police, at every level,” Mthethwa said.
After following the correct legal and labour processes, SAPS is now satisfied that 1 017 of its members are no longer fit to serve. There remain just over 300 officers who are yet to appear before Boards of Fitness.
“This is the first time in South Africa’s history that such a process has been undertaken. It has proved to be a challenging process for the SAPS but one that will result in a better police service. We are now in the final stages of the procedures,” he said.
Late last year, SAPS explained to Parliament the process to remove criminal officers had to be conducted in a meticulous fashion, to ensure correct labour and legal processes were followed.
“The SAPS could not take any chance that because of a flawed process, criminals would remain in SAPS and it took some time to ensure effective procedures were established,” the Minister said.
“The only remaining obstacle now, is that a trade union has undertaken legal action in the Eastern Cape in an attempt to derail the process. This is something SAPS is vigorously opposing.”