Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has revealed that 1 448 members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) have criminal records but are still employed by the department.
Mthethwa was yesterday announcing the results of an audit on SAPS members with criminal offences.
“Reaching this milestone was critical for us as this was a very complex and painstaking exercise which entailed the assessment of individual members’ records. The process began two years ago and included auditing of all SAPS employees, those employed under SAPS Act and Public Service Act,” Mthethwa said.
“It entailed thorough processing of statistical data, cross checking against the Crime Information System, personnel human resource files and finger printing. The audit process was protracted and took longer than anticipated because part of our approach on this matter was to ensure we exhaust all the avenues, be they legal, operational as well as labour relations aspects.
“The next step is for the National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega, to act on the outcome of the audit. I have now instructed her and the management team that feedback on action should be provided to me by the end of October this year,” the Minister said.
Mthethwa indicated that the audit process revealed serious challenges with regard to management of discipline within the department, and instructed officials to develop a long term strategy on discipline, which the ministry said they are currently busy with.
“I wish to sincerely thank the team (SAPS as well as the Civilian Secretariat for Police) which worked very hard and meticulously to ensure that this audit was completed,” Mthethwa said. “The process going forward will require even more dedication.”
“This is a legal process where everyone will be given an opportunity to state his or her side of the story. That said, our resolve to root out any unwanted elements within the police will never be deterred by anything, no matter how long and what it takes,” the Minister concluded.