DA: Police brutality is robbing nation of R7bn
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa admitted that civil claims instituted against the police escalated to R7.1-billion during the last financial year.
Responding to parliamentary questions, he said the number of claims increased from 8027 during the 2010/2011 financial year to 10552 during the 2011/2012 financial year.
DA spokesman on justice, Debbie Schafer, said: "I am extremely concerned about the number of claims and ongoing complaints about inefficiency and poor service delivery. [I] am wanting details as to exactly how much this is costing our country.
"Obviously, in the case of police, it is of even greater concern given the recent incidents of inappropriate behaviour."
Mthethwa said the figures for the current financial year were yet to be audited and that they will appear in his department's financial report.
Not all of the claims had been settled in court, Mthethwa said.
"A large number of these are finalised for reasons other than payments.
"Such claims become dormant, prescribed, were abandoned, withdrawn or did not comply with the Institution of Legal Proceedings Against Certain Organs of the State Act," Mthethwa said.
Schafer blamed police brutality on inadequate training. She said the poor were being deprived of service delivery because money was diverted from other causes to pay these claims.
"It is a completely unacceptable situation that the police alone are responsible for wasting R7-billion while departments like justice have to take budget cuts," she said.