800 Western Cape cops probed for abusing state cars and breaching road regulations

Hundreds of Western Cape police officers were investigated for the alleged abuse of state vehicles, including drunken driving incidents. File photo.
Hundreds of Western Cape police officers were investigated for the alleged abuse of state vehicles, including drunken driving incidents. File photo.
Image: Gareth Wilson

Over the past three years, 799 Western Cape police officers were investigated for breaching policies around the use of state vehicles.

Their alleged transgressions ranged from drunken driving to using the vehicles for private use. 

This figure was contained in a parliamentary reply to DA Western Cape spokesperson on community safety, Reagen Allen. The replies were given by Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Theo Fritz.

“A reply to my parliamentary question reveals that on average, for the last three years, 266 SA Police Service members have transgressed the policy on the use of official vehicles. This is the average per year between 2018 and 2021, in just the Western Cape,” Allen said.

In 2018, 309 SAPS members were investigated for such incidents. There were 261 in 2019 and 229 in 2020.

“While the percentage of transgressions compared to the total number of SAPS members in our province is low, this is a matter where one transgression is one too many when we consider the broader context of policing in the province,” he added.

SAPS also revealed that during these three years:

  • at least 30 of their police officers in the Western Cape were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol;
  • 117 had been found using police cars without authority;
  • 24 officers were found to have misused state vehicles;
  • 321 officers were investigated for reckless and negligent driving; while
  • 246 collected traffic violation infringements.

SAPS said some members had more than one transgression in each case.

The following action was taken against members suspected of wrongdoing:

  • 17 officers underwent disciplinary hearings, were found not guilty and cleared of the charges;
  • two resigned amid the disciplinary action;
  • 147 were taken for corrective counselling;
  • 86 were given verbal warnings;
  • 76 were given written warnings;
  • 55 were served with final warnings;
  • five were suspended without pay; and
  • only six officers were fired in relation to these charges.

The SA Police Service was conducting disciplinary processes for 25 of its officers while 66 were still under investigation.

In 320 cases, however, no action was taken as the police members were cleared of wrongdoing.

Also of concern, Allen said, was the revelation by police minister Bheki Cele that “1,200 [police] vehicles in the Western Cape are currently not servicing communities in the province”.

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