MORE than 10 percent, or 476, of the Joburg metro police department’s (JMPD) staff complement have been investigated internally in the past year for allegations ranging from theft to bribery, assault and misconduct.
But, of the 476 metro police officers probed by the service’s internal affairs unit, less than 4 percent – or a mere 19 officers – were dismissed.
The disclosure by the City of Joburg policing service’s management follows exposés by The Star and its sister paper, the Saturday Star, into what seems to amount to criminal conduct and abuses by JMPD officers. The cases were reported in the JMPD’s latest annual report.
There are currently 4 326 JMPD staffers employed in the city.
Of the 476 cases investigated, the majority of the allegations against the officers were of “unbecoming behaviour” (373 cases) and 20 cases of corruption and assault.
The figures indicate that 205 of the cases had been resolved without the need for a disciplinary hearing. About 30 percent, or 149, of the cases initially laid with the JMPD were unsubstantiated when investigated further, and at least 10 cases were withdrawn.
Of 43 officers who had gone through disciplinary procedures, 19 had been dismissed, charges against 12 had been withdrawn and four officers had been found not guilty. The remaining eight officers had received written warnings or an unpaid suspension ranging from two to 10 days.
The offences covered in the annual report range from fraud to bribery, theft, assault, unbecoming conduct, going Awol, insubordination and damage to council property.
The annual report covers the period from July last year to June this year.
The Star reported this week that, according to JMPD chief Chris Ngcobo, at least 20 percent of the force was corrupt.
Ngcobo’s acknowledgement came just weeks after his internal affairs director, Abel Nkosi, reported to the council that at least 116 officers had been investigated internally between April and June this year.
The Star also reported that in the past year, the police’s internal complaints directorate had investigated nine cases of bribery, corruption, fraud, theft, assault and misconduct against the officers.
At the weekend, the Saturday Star reported how, about a month ago, members of the internal affairs division had handed a motorist a R4 000 bribe to drop corruption charges against a senior metro police officer.
The motorist had gone to the JMPD’s Loveday Street offices in the Joburg CBD to complain formally about being forced to pay a R700 bribe to an officer at a roadblock – a conversation which he had recorded. The officers had then tried to make the case go away.
At a media briefing yesterday, Ngcobo stressed that corruption did not involve only officers.
“Around 90 percent of the corruption comes from the community. We want to challenge the public to refuse to do the wrong thing.”
Ngcobo touched on the case involving 47 metro police officers who had shot at police during a wage protest on the M2 in 2008.
Following reports that nothing had happened, Ngcobo said that was not true. “The case involving 15 of the officers is finalised. We are just waiting for the verdict. The other cases are still going through the process.”
He said an outside attorney had been appointed and instructed to finalise the remaining cases by year-end.
The JMPD was calling witnesses in those remaining 22 cases.
In the latest case on October 10, Soweto resident Sibusiso Ntimba was allegedly beaten up and burnt on a hot engine by metro police officers because he had failed to produce his driving licence.
Then, on July 28, a carpenter from Linden was allegedly assaulted and arrested by a group of metro officers after he had asked them why they were destroying a rock feature in his neighbourhood.
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