Pro forma civil unrest claim drafted by former NPA staffer

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A former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor now prowling the corridors of Parliament rather than those of the courts wants South Africans who bore the brunt of the recent civil unrest to claim damages from Police Minister Bheki Cele’s SA Police Service (SAPS).

Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow justice and correctional services minister, approached the issue of particularly business losses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal using Act 40 of 2002 – specifically section three of the Institution of Legal Proceedings Against Certain Organs of State.

She drafted a letter of demand template which those affected by rioting and looting can use to claim damages from the national police service. In a statement she said the DA is making the pro forma document available to those whose suffered damages enabling them to claim damages in cases where Sasria, the State-owned enterprise (SOE) providing cover for any damage caused during politically motivated riots, strikes or civil commotion, fails to “fully compensate”.

Elaborating on the thinking behind the letter of demand Breytenbach said: “Police failed to act in a timely manner to indications of looters’ intent to bring South Africa to its knees. Not only did police fail to foresee the violence incited and encouraged on social media platforms would lead to widespread anarchy, but by they reportedly ignored warnings from the intelligence community. As police struggled to curb violence, thousands on thousands of jobs went up in flames and communities had to protect themselves against dangerous criminals intent on destruction at any cost”.

Breytenbach is scathing of the national crime fighting service saying it top structures not only failed to protect businesses and law abiding citizens, “poor planning and lack of grasp of the situation failed to put sufficient feet on the ground putting police officers’ lives in danger”.