The shocking report documents a rising trend of police officials attempting to extort sexual favours from women.
Over half of the reports of police corruption received by the organisation were received from Gauteng. The province accounts for 52.8% of the nation’s corruption, and of that figure, 59% of the reports came from Johannesburg.
The organisation has received 1,400 reports of police corruption from the public since 2012, accounting for 5.9% of the total of 24,500 reports of corruption received.
Bribery is the biggest problem, accounting for 33% of the reports, followed by abuse of power at 23% and dereliction of duty at 18%. Threats of violence from police officials accounted for 4% of the reports received.
Detectives and investigating officers are the types of police officials most often implicated in corruption. They were involved in 26% of the reports received, followed by station commanders at 15%, captains at 12%, and constables at 10%.
According to the organisation, the reports of corruption received highlight a lack of faith in law enforcement by South African citizens.
Stories include shocking tales of abuses of power such as police threatening citizens and attempting to extort money from them, offers to make dockets disappear for bribes, and, most disturbingly of all, a rising trend of reports from women of attempts by police officials at extorting sexual favours from them.
“This report is the story of almost every woman, man and child in our country, and that is the most troubling fact,” said Melusi Ncala, the project manager who oversaw the report.
While Gauteng is clearly the greatest source of cases of police corruption, Corruption Watch is quick to point out that the problem takes place nationwide, and is most likely more concentrated in Gauteng because that’s where the most people are.
“Though a bitter pill to swallow, the most plausible explanation for these figures is that the province and the highlighted cities have the largest population numbers and that our main activities take place in this area,” the report says.
Other high-density areas also account for a significant portion of reports of police corruption, with KwaZulu-Natal accounting for 11% and the Western Cape 8.3%. The big cities of Durban (accounting for 73% of the province’s corruption) and Cape Town (84% of the Western Cape’s corruption was reported there) are unsurprisingly the biggest hotbeds for cases of corruption caused by law enforcement officers.
The report ends by highlighting how the rule of law could be restored to South Africa’s policing system.
“The authority that all Saps members wield needs to be an exercise of power to promote fairness and equality, done gracefully and with dignity – but most importantly, the intention should always be to promote human rights,” it says.
“When that becomes a cultural practice, the collective mindset of those in service will cease to be of officers in a force, but rather an institution of public service. In time, hopefully, the rule of law will triumph over violence, sexual harassment, crime and corruption.”
The full report can be read via https://www.corruptionwatch.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Police-sectoral-report-June2019.pdf. The Citizen