Police combating corruption

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The South African Police Service is stepping up its efforts to combat corruption but cannot be expected to fight the battle alone, says Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa. Addressing the South African Police Unions’ Anti-Corruption Symposium in Midrand on Friday, the minister called for more mechanisms of accountability and transparency to be urgently introduced to avoid corrupt practices.

“We need to regard corruption, especially in government and the parastatals not only as very serious anti-social behaviour, but in fact, an attack on the very essence of our social system we want to build,” he said. Measures that sought to combat corruption needed to deal with both those who corrupt and those who were corrupted, Mthethwa added.

With regards to SAPS, the focus was on addressing corruption within the ranks, as well as investigating corruption within government and the private sector, he state BuaNews agency said. The SAPS was in the process of finalising the review of its discipline regulations, including the establishment of a dedicated discipline management capacity, he noted. “At my instruction, the SAPS has revised its Anti-Corruption Strategy to ensure compliance with the Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity (MACC) requirements as approved by Cabinet.
“The strategy focuses on four pillars: prevention, detection, investigation and restorative actions.  To ensure the implementation of this strategy; Anti-Corruption Action Plans have been developed at divisional, provincial and police station levels,” Mthethwa said. Over the past two years there have been more than 1 061 investigations registered by SAPS involving members who were alleged to be involved in corruption. However, Mthethwa noted that a number of challenges with regards to fight against corruption still needed to be addressed.

This included the reluctance by police officers to report corrupt activities by their colleagues and reluctance of some police administrators to acknowledge corruption. “…to address corruption effectively we need to develop both a police and civil culture that supports a professional police and which acts against unprofessionalism in the police,” he said.

At the same time Mthethwa also acknowledged the “decisive action” taken by the Hawks in combating corruption in government and the private sector. There was currently 37 cases under investigation. The Hawks have also arrested 21 suspects involved in corruption amounting to R437 million. The police unit established an Anti-corruption Unit that works in collaboration with different departments. So far 76 public officials have been arrested.

It has also established an Operation Clean Audit in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, which focuses on corruption at a local government level. “To date, a total of 362 cases have or are being investigated. 144 public officials and 120 members of the public have appeared in court. Linked to some of these cases the Hawks have also secured the conviction 60 public officials and 29 members of the public,” he noted.



Despite these successes, the Hawks should not be left to deal with government corruption by itself.
“Government departments need to ensure approaches that address both detection and prevention and that meet the standards of the MACC are in place at all levels,” Mthethwa said.