Police Minister Bheki Cele, by way of his National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, did not give a direct answer to a Parliamentary question asked by Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald.
He wanted Cele to supply numbers of SA Police Service (SAPS) “members” arrested, either involved or suspected of involvement in crime, in the 2022/23 financial year and the three preceding ones. Groenewald specified murder, robbery and rape in his question, published in February on a Parliamentary internal question paper, seemingly made available last Friday (28 July).
A six paragraph written response contains no arrest numbers or numbers of police either involved or allegedly involved in the three serious offences named by Groenewald.
It reads: “The SAPS is fully aware of the implications of criminal charges against members, in terms of the impact this has on the reputation of the organisation and the confidence and trust the public has in the SAPS”.
“The SAPS is equally aware of the need for criminal allegations against members to be thoroughly investigated without fear or favour. For this reason, the mandates of certain law enforcement capabilities such as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the risk and integrity management component, enable them to investigate certain types of criminal cases against SAPS members, including serious corruption, organised crime, commercial crime and integrity/corruption related charges. There are also charges, less serious in nature, which are investigated by anti-corruption units in the Detective and Forensic services or by detectives at police stations.
“The SAPS has established a system functionality which enables tracking criminal charges. The data that feeds this system is captured on the crime administration system (CAS) and/or investigation case docket management system (ICDMS) at station level and, as such, must be verified.”
The response goes on to say “nodal points” are established at national and provincial levels “undertaking the verification process”.
“In the absence of meticulous and stringent verification processes, inaccurate data may harm the reputation of innocent members. The validation process is essential to ensure only reliable and verified information is used to report on SAPS members’ involvement in criminal activity,” the reply has it adding the “system functionality” will be completed by 30 September after which Groenewald will be answered.
Responding to the evasive answer Groenewald, in part, blamed it on “a flawed system used as an excuse to cover up”.
“It comes down to separate systems for different divisions and levels in the police force on which relevant data is stored, but there is no final, reliable database on which all data is integrated and verified,” he said adding the situation is “alarming”.
“It is unacceptable that the Minister of Police has no clear idea of the extent of criminality among his members as he does not have access to a comprehensive database that is regularly updated.
“Without access to detailed information, no preventative measures can be put in place to prevent criminality among members or to effectively address problems. The FF+ will demand proper answers to these questions be provided by 30 September”.