Cape Town – Western Cape MEC of Community Safety Albert Fritz has welcomed the investigation by the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) into allegations of “unacceptable behaviour” by the Muizenberg and Steenberg police.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Fritz called on members of the public to come forward and report their experiences to the police ombudsman.
Fritz said he had written to the WCPO after police inefficiencies were reported on May 11, when a senior police official allegedly threatened an elderly woman, a pregnant woman and several residents in the Muizenberg area.
Then, on April 23, a mother from Lavender Hill was allegedly arrested, physically assaulted and spat in her face when she sought help at the Steenberg police station.
“I wrote to the WCPO, Mr JJ Brand, on May 11, regarding the numerous complaints of police inefficiencies reported during the lockdown period at Muizenberg and Steenberg SAPS and requested an investigation into these allegations in terms of section 17 of the Western Cape Community Safety Act (the act),” Fritz said.
He said a further request for an investigation was received from the chief whip of the provincial parliament, Mireille Wenger, on May 28.
Fritz said he knew the reports of police inefficiencies were not limited to the Muizenberg and Steenberg SAPS and there were cases of police inefficiencies reported across the province.
“I call on residents who experience such to immediately come forward and report it to the office of the WCPO.
“It is unacceptable that certain members of the SAPS should act so aggressively towards the residents that they are duty-bound to serve.
“Now I must add that, by and large, we can be proud of our police officers who serve us and make us safer in a tireless and dedicated manner.
“We are concerned about a few instances in which this is not the case, and each instance deserves our attention,” Fritz said.
He added that in terms of methodology section 17(10) of the act, investigations are required to be co-ordinated by the WCPO, to prevent duplication.
The WCPO decided not to register another complaint in terms of sections 16(2) and 17(2) of the act, but rather to consult the individual complainants and requested them to submit individual complaints in terms of sections 16(1) and 17(1).
Fritz said he has subsequently referred his finding to the office of the provincial police commission in line with the WCPO’s recommendation that the commissioner take steps to address the inefficiencies.
He said he had asked the provincial commission to furnish him with actions her office would be taking to address the inefficiencies.
Fritz added that he had commended the WCPO and his office for the investigations into the inefficiencies at Muizenberg and Steenberg SAPS.
African News Agency (ANA)