The South African Police Service (SAPS) dismissed 119 police officers for fraud and corruption during its last financial year. Some 362 cases were investigated in the year that ended in March, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa says.
“We shall never get tired of ridding the SAPS of rotten apples who may be within the force; in fact we shall become more determined to ensure that only law-abiding police and staff members remain in the force,” Mthethwa said in a statement today. Of the 199 dismissed officers and administrative staff, 72 were based in Gauteng, 15 in the Western Cape and 14 in Mpumalanga.
Some of the infractions committed included financial mismanagement, bribery, loss of dockets and collaboration with criminals. Apart from the sackings, 29 police officers received suspended dismissals; 26 were given suspended dismissals with fines; 53 were found not guilty, and 99 cases were withdrawn.
Mthethwa said that, “We would rather lose a hundred corrupt cops and be left with ten morally-upright, committed and disciplined police officers. That is why as part of our new recruitment approach, emphasis will be put on quality rather than quantity.”
He adds the police is setting high standards for its new recruits, including intensive background checks, a longer training programme (12 months instead of six) and assessments by community policing forums. “The aim is to attract patriotic and incorruptible South Africans”, national police commissioner General Bheki Cele said last week. At the moment, there are plans to add 30 000 new police officers to the service, which will bolster its numbers to 220 000. Currently, the SAPS has 151 000 police officers and 39 000 administrative staff on its payroll.