Ipid report on 'premature' closing of cases against police to be released
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) will soon release a final report on claims that it prematurely closed investigations against the police.
Ipid was responding to a report by Viewfinder on Tuesday, which said the police watchdog had, for years, been closing cases without properly investigating them.
Viewfinder is a new accountability journalism unit, launched in partnership with the Daily Maverick and GroundUp.
Viewfinder said leaked memos, reports, correspondence, a signed affidavit and a statement to the Zondo inquiry into state capture contained whistle-blower allegations that police brutality cases were prematurely “completed” or “closed” at Ipid.
This was allegedly done to clear cases from the workload or to inflate Ipid's performance statistics.
Responding on Wednesday, Ipid spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said that in November 2016, a former Ipid ethics officer allegedly received a whistle-blower report over the “special closure” of investigations at the Gauteng office.
The officer, Amar Maharaj, said cases which were fraudulently closed included assault, corruption, discharge of a firearm, death as a result of police action, rape and death in police custody, Seisa said.
He said Maharaj forwarded the report to the office of the then executive director of Ipid, Robert McBride, requesting that an investigation be launched into the fraudulent closure of cases in Gauteng from April 2016 to July 2016.
“Upon receiving the report, our Integrity Strengthening Unit was then tasked with conducting an investigation,” Seisa said.
He said the investigation aimed to look into the high number of “special closures” during this period and to identify whether any people should be held accountable for any identified transgressions of Ipid policies.
“Upon investigating ... it was found that cases closed as special closure were done as per instruction received from then acting provincial head,” he said.
Seisa said when Ipid investigators approached the then acting head, Dan Morema, he refused to co-operate with the investigators and did not provide reasons for ordering these special closures.
“[Morema] has since resigned from Ipid,” he said.
After the investigation, the probe was extended to cover all provinces to determine the extent of the problem, he added.
“The final report is expected to be provided within the next few weeks. The acting director [Victor Senna] has directed that this process be expedited.”
Seisa said all responsible officials would be held accountable if it was established that any wrongdoing took place.