KZN SAPS bans DA from conducting oversight inspections

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison

KZN SAPS bans DA from conducting oversight inspections

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today written to KZN Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, calling on him to condemn a circular issued by KZN’s Acting Police Commissioner which instructs SAPS cluster and station commanders not to share any information with public representatives, including Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs). Click here to read the document.

The instruction, from Lieutenant-General Mkhwanazi goes so far as to say that DA representatives, in particular, are to be denied access to information. It also indicates that parliamentary portfolios committees must first obtain permission from the Provincial Police Headquarters before conducting oversight inspections.

The DA will not bow to the Acting Commissioner’s unconstitutional directive. As representatives of the South African public we have a duty to ensure that SAPS is held accountable. That duty requires oversight inspections and station-specific information.

In terms of Section 114(2)b of the South African Constitution, Legislature representatives are empowered to undertake oversight inspections of government facilities and entities within the province. In addition, MPLs are empowered by Section 203(3) to obtain information with regard to police conduct, visible policing, police efficiency and effectiveness. Such information ensures that they can hold the police to account and keep all our communities safe.

The people of KZN are currently buckling under the scourge of crime with the province recording the highest number of murders country-wide, with a person killed every two hours. The latest crime statistics, also reported that there were more than 188 000 house break-ins in the province during the period April 2017 to March 2018. Criminals have entered the sanctity of our homes with the result that many families are living in fear. Those who can afford to have turned their homes into ‘prisons’ with high walls, barbed wire and cameras. This is no way to live.

Meanwhile, the recently released Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) also showed that just half of KZN’s residents are satisfied with police services in the province. The instruction by Lieutenant-General Mkhwananzi will certainly have done nothing to improve this perception of the force.

The DA will not let this matter rest. We have also written to the Chairperson of the KZN Community Safety and Liaison portfolio committee to request that Lt-Gen Mkhwanazi appear before the committee to answer for this instruction.

The DA will continue to conduct inspections of police stations and SAPS units across KwaZulu-Natal. We remain committed to fighting for a safer South Africa where people and families feel safe to fulfil their potential; this requires an honest and professional police service.

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