As revealed by the 2016/17 Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Annual Report, irregular expenditure at IPID has climbed by 740 percent.
The report specified that irregular expenditure at the department, which was created as a watchdog to investigate complaints against the South African Police Service and municipal police services, totalled R21.5 million.
It was buttressed that the 21.5 million irregular expenditure at IPID consists majorly of R12.7 million from 2015 and R6.3 million from 2016. In all, the total amount represents a 739.5% increase from the preceding year.
Reacting to this revelation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party reminded South Africans that IPID asked for R5 million from Parliament six months ago. Then, the Directorate contended that the money would help it complete its investigations into the Marikana massacre.
Four months later, it circulated that the Directorate couldn’t complete the Farlam Commission into the massacre of the 44 Marikana miners recommendations because of lack of finances.
Based on the above, the DA asserted that the regression of IPID’s financial management was triggered by the politically-driven period of organizational destabilization during the reign of the former Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko.
It “is now impacting on its ability to carry out its mandate of conducting independent and impartial investigations of crimes committed by SAPS and Municipal Police Service (MPS) members.
“IPID is meant to be the watchdog over those entrusted with our safety and security and were compromised in their ability to do so.
“Thanks to a Minister at the time who actively worked against its effectiveness and an unfit-for-purpose leadership that seemed intent on hollowing out its capacity,” stated DA.
Having said that, DA agitated that the people of South Africa must be immediately reassured that their safety is not being risked by IPID’s inability to keep its financial affairs in order. And, that the department would implement an urgent recovery plan.
IPID is not the only government agency to record irregular spending in recent time. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has recorded irregular expenditure of over 1000%.
The agency’s expenditure, as detailed in its own annual report, rose from R93m in 2014/15 to over R1bn in 2015/16.
SASSA explained to Parliament’s portfolio committee on social development that the amounts were irregularly spent on the extension of contracts with security companies (R414m), re-registering grant beneficiaries (R316m), re-negotiated tenancy agreements (R223m), forensic investigations (R74m), and “other matters” (R18m).
Democratic Alliance MPs Bridget Masango and Evelyn Wilson asked what was being done to address the “very concerning” issues.
SASSA acting chief executive officer Raphaahle Ramokgopa said “poor contract management” was the reason for the outrageous figures. He told the committee the irregularities were not acceptable, promising to take better steps to deal with their issues.
However, despite the alarming irregular expenditure figures, the department is still scheduled to address the committee on its readiness to take over the distribution of all of South Africa’s social grants, after the Constitutional court ruled that the contract with the current service provider, Cash Paymaster Services, was invalid.
Acting Director-General Wiseman Magasela said Sassa was confident of being able to handle grants for 17 million people.
About Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)
Better known as IPID, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate serves as a South African agency that was created to investigate complaints citizens and bodies have against the country’s police force (South African Police Service) as well as the municipal police services.
Previously known as the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), the agency was formed after the country’s independence in 1997 being a part of the post-apartheid reforms brought to the police system.
The functions ascribed to the agency are well-encompassing to cover things like the deaths of individuals as a result of police custody or actions. It also investigates crimes by members of SAPS which may include rape, robbery, corruption, and any other criminal offenses. Poor police services, improper behavior which goes against the Police Regulations and the SAPS Standing Orders. Other things one can forward to the agency for investigations include complaints on misconduct by members of the Municipal Police Services (MPS) and failure to assist or protect citizens when needed.
Even though its functions seem broad, there is a limit to the things the IPID can handle. For example, it has no powers to entertain any complaint on misconduct or activities deemed unprofessional by either the MPS or SAPS that happened before the creation of the agency no matter how serious such misconduct might be. It has an independent oversight function over the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Municipal Police Services (MPS).
Also, its powers do not extend to activities of the South African National Defence Force, court officials, or even the Correctional service staff. Hence, the Independent Complaints Directorate cannot entertain complaints on misconduct by staff and members of the aforementioned bodies.
Types of Cases Investigated by IPID
- Death in police custody
- Death as a result of police action
- Discharge od official firearm by any police officer
- Rape by police officer
- Rape of any person while in police custody
- Torture or assult by police
Cases investigated by IPID in terms of the Act:
1) Death in Police Custody
2) Death as a result of police action
3) Discharge of official firearm by any police officer
4) rape by police officer
5) rape of any person while in police custody
6) torture or assult by police
— IpidZA (@IPID_ZA) July 22, 2019
How To Lodge Complaints Of Police Misconduct
In a case of any misconduct by the police including death, rape, or torture in police custody, execution by police officers, death as a result of police action, or any other inappropriate and criminal activities by the members of the police force, one can go ahead and request for an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. However, before one can request for this, one must first of all open a case with the nearest police station. It is only when the police fail to assist that one can take the next step of making the complaint to the directorate.
To lodge a complaint, there are a number of ways you can decide to go as provided below:
- Phone Call: You can contact the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on 012 399 0000.
- Fax Number: 012 326 0408
- Email: Complaints@ipid.gov.za
- In Person: One can walk into any IPID office and file a complaint.
Note: You can decide to lodge a complaint whether you are a victim, witness, or simply a representative. Complaints can also be lodged by non-governmental and community-based organizations
From 2016 to 2017, the directorate received a total of more than 7,000 cases with most of it coming from assault followed by complaint of the discharge of official firearms, and then deaths due to police actions. From 2017 to 2018, the complaints received dropped to just around over 5650 with assault topping the report followed by complaints of the discharge of official firearm and then deaths as a result of police action.