Eastern Cape pays out almost R120m in civil claims against police

11 July 2019 - 13:49 By Mpumzi Zuzile
A Tsolo official was caught on camera attacking two women earlier this year.
A Tsolo official was caught on camera attacking two women earlier this year.
Image: Screengrab

Police in the Eastern Cape are facing civil claims of more than R2.3bn, safety and liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana has revealed.

Responding to parliamentary questions from DA MPL Bobby Stevenson, Tikana said the claims emanate from alleged wrongful arrests and detention, assault, defamation, negligence, shooting, search and seizures, and loss/damage to property.

Tikana said for the past three financial years, police in the Eastern Cape have paid almost R120m in civil claims, with a majority of the claims relating to wrongful arrests and detention.

In the 2016/17 financial year, police in the Eastern Cape paid R34.2m in 677 civil claims and in 2017/18 paid out more than R39m in 473 claims.

In the 2018/19 financial year, Tikana said police in the province paid more than R45m in civil claims.

Asked if police are doing anything to curb the number of claims, Tikana said successful and adverse judgments are discussed at their management meetings to create greater awareness among members.

She said they have also recommended that disciplinary action be taken against members found to have been negligent.

Stevenson described the figures against the police in the Eastern Cape as a shocking indictment of the state of policing in the province.

“This is an extremely disturbing trend, which underlines the importance of the need for a culture of human rights awareness and professionalism in the Eastern Cape Saps. The breakdown of claims paints a picture of a police service that is clearly not upholding the law and respecting the rights of people,” Stevenson said.

He said the police commissioner needs to account to the provincial legislature on what steps are being taken to arrest this trend.

“The portfolio committee of safety and security should also interact with the police on a quarterly basis to exercise its oversight authority. People do not feel safe in their homes and communities are living in fear of the criminal element,” he said.

In April this year, a Tsolo officer was caught on camera attacking two women.

In the video, which circulated on social media, the officer seems to be in a heated argument with the women. She is then seen pushing them to the ground, and kicks and slaps one of them. The incident happened in Tsolo, about 40km from Mthatha. Provincial police spokesperson Capt Khaya Tonjeni said the officer has been identified as a reservist at the Tsolo police station.

Listen to the latest episode of Sunday Times Politics Weekly

Malema’s sex statements and the Waterkloof fall guy

For more episodes, click here.

Subscribe: iono.fm | Spotify | Apple Podcast | Pocket Casts | Player.fm