Killings worry ICd

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) says it is concerned about the number of lives lost owing to police negligence.

More than 1000 cases were reported to the ICD in which people died as a result of police action.

Sowetan has learnt that for the past two years 1319 people died in police custody.

About 93percent of the cases have been finalised. Those found guilty were jailed for between five and 15 years. Some received suspended sentences.

ICD national spokesman Dikeledi Phiri said: "We had situations where the lives of police officials or law-abiding citizens were threatened and the police were compelled to use maximum force.

"We have also seen shootouts between the police and criminals during cash-in-transit heists, where robbers were heavily armed and shot at the police.

"Surely one would understand that the police had to put their lives before those of the criminals.

"On the other hand we have deaths of civilians that occurred owing to negligence on the part of the police - for example bystanders shot by the police, vehicle accidents involving police and so on."

She said the ICD would ensure it did what was right for the victim through proper investigation of their cases and making strong recommendations to have such officers removed from the police force.

"We will continue to visit SAPS training colleges to sensitise new police recruits about the mandate of the ICD," Phiri said.

"We will make sure that they are conversant with the SAPS's standing orders, rules and regulations as they apply and to work tirelessly to ensure that police officials who do not uphold the rule of law are held accountable for their actions.

Between April 2005 and March 2006, 621 cases were reported. KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of cases at 139 and Gauteng with 128. The Northern Cape was last with 18 cases. The number increased by 77 deaths between April 2006 and March 2007.