NEWS & ANALYSIS

IPID must probe SAPS' inability to contain social unrest – Refiloe Nt'sekhe

DA says it has the past two weeks become clear how under-trained and ill-prepared SAPS truly is

DA calls on Police Civilian Secretariat to request IPID probe SAPS' inability to contain social unrest

9 September 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Secretary of the Police Service, Alvin Rapea, to request that he makes recommendations to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to probe the police’s conduct during this period of ongoing violence and social unrest in the country.

Section 31(3) of Civilian Secretariat Act provides for the establishment of a Consultative Forum, as per Chapter 4 of the IPID Act, where the Secretary can make recommendations to IPID. This would be the ideal forum to raise the police’s seemingly inability to quell the ongoing violence and disruptions in Johannesburg and the rest of Gauteng. Read with Section 28 of the IPID Act, the Directorate must investigate “any […] matter referred to it as a result of a decision by the Executive Director, or if so requested by the Minister, an MEC or the Secretary”.

Over the past two weeks of unprecedented levels of civil unrest, we have seen how under-trained and ill prepared the SAPS truly is in quelling social disorder and public violence.

In the last 24 hours various videos have emerged from Johannesburg depicting scenes of protesters looting and destroying property while the police simply stand by and do absolutely nothing to stop the violence. These images do not bode well for the SAPS’ already dwindling authority and reputation amongst the public.

The police’s seeming inability to suppress the rioting in Johannesburg and other parts of Gauteng, will only instigate the spread of these violent and often xenophobic protests to other parts of the country.

This sheepish reaction is in stark contrast to the police’s actions last week, where peaceful protesters with genuine concerns about the rising levels of Gender Based Violence were met with wrath from the police who threw stun grenades and water cannons at them.

The police have shown themselves to be completely inconsistent and overwhelmed to perform their duties in upholding law and order. It is for this reason that the DA has called on the Civilian Secretariat to request an IPID investigation, as it is ultimately their mandate to provide an effective civilian oversight over the police and to monitor overall police performance.

It is unacceptable that in this time of disorder and unrest, the police simply fold their arms as the country burns.

Issued by Refiloe Nt’sekhe, DA National Spokesperson, 9 September 2019