South Africa: Media Statement - Committee On Police Is Steadfast That Executive Within Security Cluster Will Be Held to Account for Security Lapses

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The Portfolio Committee on Police is steadfast that the executive will be held accountable for security lapses during the looting, violence and destruction of property that affected KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

Concluding its oversight visit to Gauteng yesterday, the committee has committed to following-up and ensuring that members of the executive are held to account, as per Section 92 (2) of the Constitution.

"Members of the executive are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament, and it will be a dereliction of duty on our part as Members of Parliament if we do not ensure thorough accountability. It is on this basis that we will be suggesting to sister committees within the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to hold joint meetings to get to the bottom of security lapses during the violence and looting," said Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Chairperson of the committee.

The committee believes that a thorough accountability process is essential in preventing the recurrence of the violence in future. The proposal that the committee will make will include a discussion on the functionality of the intelligence apparatus, budgetary shortfalls, as well as collaboration within the cluster.

In addition, the committee believes that the R11.8 billion cut to the police budget is the root cause of the police dithering and slow response to looting and destruction of property. The acknowledgement that the police were overwhelmed as a result of the lack of human resources and equipment can only be addressed through consideration of the police's budget.

The committee highlighted that as a direct result of budget cuts, for two successive years the police were unable to undertake their annual intake of 7 000 new trainees into the South African Police Service (SAPS). This, according to the committee, places an additional pressure on the police, given the huge size of the population they serve.

Regarding the arrest of the police officers who were involved in looting, the committee has called for their prosecution. "We urge the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to complete the investigations urgently. Also, internal disciplinary proceedings must be instituted to rid the service of rotten apples. We can only regain the credibility of the police through a strong and clear action against rotten apples," Mr Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.

Meanwhile, the committee commended the actions of the community policing forums (CPFs) which tried to save businesses in the face of threats of physical harm. "We appreciate the work done by the CPFs, despite the many challenges within which they operate. We will engage with the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service and the SAPS to strengthen coordination, as CPFs are a critical pillar in fighting criminality," Ms Joemat-Pettersson said.

The committee also welcomed the restoration of calm and stability in Gauteng and has urged the communities to protect the public and private infrastructure to ensure, among other things, the continuation of economic activity in their areas.

More From: Parliament of South Africa

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