A member of the SAPS stands guard in the street at a vehicle checkpoint in Parklands to enforce the lockdown regulations.

Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

  • Police Minister Bheki Cele says the police are committed to upholding the Constitution.
  • Recently, the police came under fire for a spate of attacks on civilians, which in some instances has led to death.
  • Cele said the police have programmes to educate police officers on the treatment of LGBTIQ+ people and other vulnerable groups.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says the loss of any life or the violation of any person’s bodily integrity, including that of police officers, is of serious concern.

According to him, police disciplinary procedures handled suspected cases of police brutality and other complaints against officers.

“A significant number of SAPS members are facing criminal charges, some remain under investigation, [on] suspension, and some [have been] dismissed already.

“Internal SAPS disciplinary procedures are premised on two approaches. Negative discipline and positive discipline, intended respectively, to punish and correct behaviour,” Cele said in response to a written parliamentary question.

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He responded to a question from EFF MP Rosina Ntshetsana Komane on the growing number of civilians attacked or killed by the police.

In the latest police brutality case, four officers are on trial for the murder of Mthokozisi Ntumba a bystander who was allegedly shot dead during a protest by Wits University students.

He had allegedly just walked out of a clinic.

In an affidavit, the investigating officer stated Ntumba was shot and killed with a rubber bullet at close range. The affidavit also revealed the accused allegedly looked at the deceased and drove away from the crime scene without assisting him.

The officers have been granted bail.

Cele said the lives of police officers, just like civilians, were also important.

Loss

“The right to life and bodily integrity of every person is important. The loss of any life or the violation of the bodily integrity of any person, including members of the South Africa Police Service, is of serious concern.”

Despite several instances of wrongdoing on police officers’ side, he added they were committed to upholding the Constitution.

“It is of utmost importance that every SAPS member must execute his or her duties within the ambit of the law and according to detailed directives, provided by the SAPS [management].

“Members of the SAPS are obliged to adhere to and uphold the rule of law. The use of force during an arrest is subject to the requirements of reasonableness, necessity and proportionality.”

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Cele said the police’s discipline regulations must be placed at the centre of functional policing priorities.

“This could enable the organisation to succeed in its transformation agenda and thus instill confidence and public trust.

“The involvement of SAPS members in crime, corruption and reports of brutality have become serious obstacles to transform the organisation and continue to dent the image of the SAPS.”

He added the human resource division within the police had programmes that dealt with civilians’ treatment.

Other programmes also include education on the treatment of LGBTIQ+ people and other vulnerable groups.

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