The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) interim report for April-September 2011 has revealed that 115 members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were directly linked to suppliers used by the police service for building contracts to the value of R50 million. This is a revelation of potential corruption on a massive scale.
Once again one must ask why the top brass seem to take no action to curb what seems like a never-ending tale of corruption in the SAPS.
The SIU’s report confirms that members of the SAPS began building their own facilities as early as 2005 under the auspices of “own resources”. Thirty-three stations were built without any clear legislative mandate for the SAPS to build their own stations.
This is yet another example of certain SAPS members thinking that they are above the law.
The report found that the SAPS failed to comply with the prescribed tender processes and that budgets were exceeded. Besides the 115 SAPS members directly linked to building suppliers, the SIU identified 215 possible conflicts of interest.
In the absence of a legislative mandate for the SAPS to take on building responsibilities, there can be no guarantee that the process will be handled legitimately. This leads to a lack of accountability.
If this building process, which clearly falls outside the SAPS mandate, was funded through the “own resources” budget, one has to question whether this budget is used by the SAPS as a front for corrupt processes.
The Minister must explain how the SAPS could have taken on building their own police stations without any legislative mandate to do so. He also has to tell us whether the 115 SAPS members that were involved in the conflicts of interest have been suspended pending the final results of the investigation.
Officers and administrators who are more concerned with making a quick buck than doing their duty to protect South African citizens, are guilty of destroying confidence in the SAPS.
There are SAPS members, such as the 115 who are linked to this latest scandal, who continue to tarnish the reputation of those SAPS members who work tirelessly to fight crime, rather than working tirelessly to boost their bank accounts.
The Minister and National Police Commissioner need to set an example and ensure that those who are found responsible are dismissed immediately. It is no longer enough to say that we need to root out corruption, they need to start actually doing it. This matter cannot be dealt with internally to avoid criminal charges.