MEC calls for tough action against corrupt officers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nelspruit - Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Sibongile Manana has called on the provincial South African Police Service (SAPS) management to take stringent action against corrupt police officials.

MEC Manana said she had had enough of corrupt officers and SAPS management should dismiss them if found guilty because they were not passionate and good for the country.

This follows the arrests of seven police officers on charges of corruption that included demanding kick-backs from towing companies.

The officers were stationed at Lydenburg, Martenshoop and Dullstroom stations as well as the Nelspruit Police Detective services branch.

"The amount of time and resources that we spend investigating corrupt officers, could be spent in strengthening our efforts to fight crime.

"If we are serious about combating crime, we must root out corruption in the South African Police Service, so that the people will have trust over the police," said MEC Manana.

Last month, confiscated mandrax worth R3.7 million disappeared at a Nelspruit Police Station Storeroom, and the department confirmed that it was suspected that the drugs were stolen by the police officers.

MEC Manana emphasised that internal corruption within the police had dented government's efforts to fight crime and compromised the image of SAPS.

She said corruption incidences undermined the confidence the communities had in the police to fight crime, adding that "rotten police" confuses the public who become afraid of the police who are actually supposed to protect them from criminals.

"The government has made serious strides in enhancing the relationship between SAPS and the community over the last fifteen years. We need to build on that and root out all corrupt elements within the police," she said.

SAPS management has since been advised to ensure thorough background checks on new recruits.

Members of the public have been urged to continue reporting corrupt police officers and other government officials.

The MEC encouraged the public to make use of institutions such as the Independent Complaints Directorate, the office of the Provincial Commissioner, the state anti-corruption hotline and even her own office.