Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Whitfield’

Police Abuse: Five years – 30 000 complaints – only 1.3% criminal conviction rate

June 8, 2020

The South African government’s violent record of police abuse and the low rate of convictions is a national disgrace.

Last week the ANC launched a campaign against police brutality. This, while between 2018 and 2019 almost 6000 South Africans suffered police brutality under the ANC-controlled South African Police Service (SAPS).

                Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police

While the lockdown has seen an increase in complaints of police abuse fueled by Minister Cele’s reckless comments and a state drunk on power, police abuse is nothing new to South Africa.

During the lockdown, between 26 March and 17 April, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IDPID) reported a shocking 30% increase in complaints of police abuse from the same period in 2019.

The DA has done an analysis on the last 5 years of complaints of police abuse referred to IPID.

This analysis has exposed a deeply entrenched culture of state sanctioned violence due a lack of accountability and consequence for police abuse and brutality.

Below is a list of the totals for the most prevalent complaints received by IPID:
2018/2019
2017/2018
2016/2017
2015/2016
2014/2015

Deaths in police custody
214
201
302
216
244

Deaths as a result of police action
393
436
394
366
396

Complaint of discharge of official firearm
770
677
1640
865
940

Rape by a police officer
124
105
112
112
124

Rape in police custody
13
9
20
23
34

Torture

270
217
173
145
145

Assault
3835
3661
3827
3509
3711

Totals:

2018/2019:   5 829
2017/2018:   5 651
2016/2017:   7 014
2015/2016:   5 519
2014/2015:   5 879

Total:           29 892

Over the last five financial years IPID received a total of 29 892 complaints in terms of section 28 and 29 of the IPID Act.

Of these complaints:

    • 27.7% were referred to the NPA for criminal recommendations
    • 25.8% constituted disciplinary recommendations made to SAPS
    • Only 3.9% lead to disciplinary convictions
    • Only 1.3% lead to criminal convictions

“The DA has long held the view that there is an urgent need to demilitarize the South African Police Service (SAPS) and strengthen the independence and capacity of IPID.

This is why the DA wants the nomination process for an IPID Head to be independent from the Police Minister and why we have been fighting for the portfolio committee to draft a committee Bill to this effect,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

“The past week the Chairperson agreed to get legal advice and research on the matter, after which the committee will consider a committee Bill.

We will continue to put pressure on the Chair to speed up this process before a new Head is appointed by the Minister.
The suffocating violence of the state must come to an end.

President Ramaphosa must remove Minister Bheki Cele’s jackboot from the throats of the people,” added Whitfield.

DA calls for Bheki Cele to be removed as Police Minister

April 9, 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Bheki Cele as Minister of Police following his outrageous remarks about a police officer who allegedly raped his wife.

Minister Cele accused the media of negative reporting on police behaviour during the lockdown, following the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (IPID) release of statistics detailing police brutality and violence.

In reference to a case where a member of the police was accused of raping his wife during the lockdown, Minister Cele watered down the gravity of the allegations by stating the report that a member of the police raped a woman during the lockdown is untrue because It was the woman’s husband, who happens to be a police officer, who raped her.

The Minister then went on to question the need for the media to highlight that it was indeed a police officer who committed this heinous act against his wife.

As of 2 April 2020, South Africa had an estimated 87 000 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) reported during the lockdown.

“The scourge of GBV is real, and it is irresponsible that the Minister would expect the media to censor themselves by not reporting on cases where those who are responsible for protecting us, are in fact doing us harm,”said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

“The Minister is a rape apologist, and he must be held accountable for his careless and insensitive justifications for rape.

The DA calls on President to Ramaphosa to remove Bheki Cele from his position, as he has proven, especially during this lockdown period that he is not fit for office.

The President cannot, in good conscious allow a person who is a rape apologist to continue serving as a Minister of Police,” added Whitfield.

Jeffreys Bay Police Station Needs Urgent Status Upgrade

February 14, 2020

During an oversight visit to the Jeffrey’s Bay police station on Thursday 6th February it became crystal clear that SAPS is insufficiently resourced to fight crime Jeffrey’s Bay.

I was joined by my colleague from the Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson MPL.

A growing population and an increase in crime in many parts of Jeffrey’s Bay requires the appropriate resources to keep the community safe.

The Station Commander, Col Kiewiet, confirmed that visible policing is a major problem with vehicles in the garage for repair and insufficient manpower to patrol. She indicated that most nights there is only one vehicle with two officers patrolling the streets.

The crime statistics released in 2019 revealed that there is a house breaking in Jeffrey’s Bay almost every single day. This combined with an increase in other crimes such as common assault and theft of goods from vehicles contributes to a case load which is out of control.

The people of Jeffrey’s Bay deserve a responsive and professional police service that will arrive at the scene of a crime quickly and handle all complaints with compassion.

A few years ago the Jeffrey’s Bay Police station was downgraded from ‘Full Colonel’ to ‘Half Colonel’ which means less resources to fight crime.

I will be writing to the National Police Commissioner to report on my visit and demand the reinstatement of ‘Full Colonel’ status for the Jeffrey’s police station so this community can get the resources they deserve.

Other issues that were raised include:

  • The status of the CPF and the role of the station commander in supporting the CPF
  • Escalation of drug related incidents
  • Gang violence
  • State of vehicles
  • Crime Statistics

The DA will fight this issue tooth and nail at a National and provincial level to ensure that the residents of Jeffrey’s Bay can live in safety.

Andrew Whitfield
DA Shadow Minister of Police

Public meeting with Athol Trollip in Jeffreys Bay

September 25, 2019

The Democratic Alliance will be holding a public meeting in Jeffreys Bay this evening with Athol Trollip, the federal chairperson of the Party.

Trollip will be joined by the Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield as well as the Mayor of Kouga, Horatio Hendricks.

The meeting will take place at the Seaviews Resort at 6 pm this evening (25 September 2019).

Trollip will also visit the housing projects in Ocean View and Pellsrus.

No RDP houses were built in Kouga since 2007 and when the DA took over the Kouga Municipality in 2016, a number of housing projects were unlocked, which saw 391 houses being built in Humansdorp, with construction underway in the two projects in Jeffreys Bay.

Tomorrow Andrew Whitfield will meet with rate payers of Aston Bay and Marina Martinique and he will be joined by Councillor Brenton Williams.

Municipal issues as well as crime will be discussed at the meeting which starts at 2 pm at the Marina Martinique hall.

DA calls for activation of National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure

September 3, 2019

The DA notes with grave concern the outbreaks of violent lawlessness targeting the economy across South Africa.

The past 14 days have been characterised by looting, attacks on foreign nationals, the burning of trucks, and violent riots.

In part, these incidents are due to a failing economy in which more than 10 million South Africans cannot find work or have given up looking for work. While the national Government throws billions in bailouts at failing state-owned entities, the national fiscus grows weaker by the day.

To maintain law and order, which is a key requirement for stability and therefore economic growth, we need a co-ordinated approach to actively monitor and rapidly respond and end any violence or disturbances which could cause destruction of property, a loss of life, or further harm South Africa’s economy.

The DA will, therefore, write to the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, to request that he activate the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), in response to these increasing incidences.

The violent truck protests across the country have seen at least 20 trucks per week torched in June, and several highway blockades as recently as today.

Truck torching has involved several other violent incidents in the past few months, including bricks hurled through the windows a driver’s truck in the Eastern Cape, a delivery truck that was petrol bombed in Somerset West, and a driver who died of his injuries after his truck was petrol bombed near Touws River. An attack on trucks is an attack on the economy.

The NATJOINTS is empowered to coordinate all security and law enforcement operations throughout the country and is therefore well placed to first anticipate and if necessary, to respond timeously to incidents of criminality and disorder when they occur.

It is time the Government acts to curb the increasing number of violent attacks on our economy across the country which is compromising stability, the flow of goods and ultimately jobs. Activating the NATJOINTS is in the best interest of the safety and economy of South Africa and her people.

Andrew Whitfield

DA Shadow Minister of Police

R 20 billion budget cuts would cause a loss of 23 000 Policemen

August 29, 2019

The South African Police announced in Parliament last week that National Treasury has instructed them to cut their budget through a 5%, 6% and 7% baseline reduction over the next three years.

This may ultimately result in a loss of 23 000 personnel. This shocking announcement comes at a time when the majority of South Africans feel increasingly unsafe in their communities, due to escalating levels of violence and crime.

The DA has proposed an alternative budget proposal, which considers cutting VIP protection costs instead of other police programmes.

The VIP protection budget allocation amounts to approximately R 10 million per individual, per year, with an approximate Cabinet cost to taxpayers amounting to R 631 million yearly.

“It is unconscionable that National Treasury would request SAPS budget cuts, when our police service is already severely under-capacitated and under-resourced.

Further budget cuts will only continue to hinder SAPS’ ability to provide visible policing and will condemn citizens to living in even greater fear than they do now,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

Currently SAPS has approximately 191 000 employees, a number which would drop to 167 000 by 2022/23. A drop in personnel is not the way to achieve a 50% reduction of violent crime, which was promised by President Ramaphosa,” added Whitfield.

The instruction from National Treasury requests that SAPS must cut its budget by R 5 billion in 2020/2021, R 6.5 billion 2021/22 and by R 7.8 billion in 2022/2023.

This will lead to 23 617 posts being lost, through an approximate R20 billion cut, over the next three financial years.

SAPS is currently 64 000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations (UN) policing ration of 1:220.

In South Africa, the police to citizen ratio is 1:380. A loss of an additional 23 000 personnel is not the answer.

The Civil Secretariat has revealed that SAPS’ contingent liability for civil claims currently totals R 14 billion per year, with claims relating to unlawful arrests and detention totaling R 189 million per year.

The budget shortfall  should rather be addressed by ensuring a more professional, properly trained police service, with minimal civil claims.

“The ANC has bankrupted the state and broken the economy to such an extent that the safety of South African citizens is now at increased risk.

Crime thrives in a broken economy. Now is not the time to be tying the hands of SAPS behind their backs.

The DA believes that by creating a safer South Africa we can ensure prosperity for all our citizens,” said Whitfield.

Keeping our streets safe is our mission

August 12, 2019

The DA Shadow Minister of Police, Andrew Whitfield, met with residents of Madiba Bay on Saturday and discussed the issue of crime that is affecting all communities in Jeffreys Bay.

Whitfield, who is also leader of the DA in Kouga, said that children need to grow up in communities that are safe and free from criminals who roam the streets, robbing people and making them fear leaving their homes.

“We have a responsibility to leave the world a safer place so that our children do not grow up in fear,” said Whitfield at a meeting of community leaders in Madiba Bay.

“We need to build a safe community so that people wont fear to leave their houses to go and work. Its important that local government, the Police and initiatives like a neighbourhood watch work together to fight crime.

We must build a safe community so that we can build a prosperous community and that includes more visible policing in our streets,” said Whitfield, who was joined by Mayor Horatio Hendricks and other Jeffreys Bay Councillors at the house meeting of community members who want to establish a neighbourhood watch in Madiba Bay.

Whitfield also went door to door with the DA activists and met with residents who shared their concerns about crime and signed the petition requesting the Minister of Police to increase Police visibility in our towns and communities.

The DA petition calls for the following:

  • More visible policing and frequent patrols of crime hotspots.
  • Frequent raids of drug dens and known crime areas as well as the hideaway spots of criminals.
  • Drastically improve on the response time when attending to complaints of violent crime.
  • Formulation of a collective crime prevention strategy.
  • More resources committed to crime prevention initiatives.

DA on the move in Humansdorp

July 21, 2019

Yesterday, Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Leader, Andrew Whitfield interacted with the residents of Donkerhoek Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie and also took time to interact and inspire our loyal activists.

“What an awesome morning chatting to constituents about the new spotlights erected by in Donkerhoek, Humansdorp, by our DA governed Kouga Municipality.

Such positive feedback and appreciation from community members. Well done to Mayor Horatio Hendricks and his team,” said Whitfield, who is also the DA Shadow Minister of Police.

Increase Police Visibility to Reduce Crime

July 7, 2019

Tsitsi-Kouga Constituency Leader and Shadow Minister of Police, Andrew Whitfield MP introduced the ‘Increase Police Visibility to Reduce Incidents of Violent Crime’ petition in Arcadia, Humansdorp yesterday.

Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police visiting Humansdorp

He also visited Ouma Julia Harris who lost her grandson last week in gang related violence.

In building an effective and fit for purpose SAPS the DA national government would move swiftly to ensure:

  • A zero-tolerance approach to corruption within the SAPS;
  • The appointment of fit for purposes officers and management who are passionate about policing;
  • The retraining all police officers to serve and protect with pride;
  • Making policing a provincial responsibility; and
  • Establish an effective drug-busting force.

We do not have another ten years to tackle crime, we need action now!

June 26, 2019

It is, to use his own words, shocking that in his State of the Nation Address, the President hardly mentioned the one thing that all South Africans have at the front of their minds every single day – Crime.

A few token references to crime here and there and then, as if out of nowhere, the bombshell announcement that violent crime will be halved in the next ten years without even a hint of irony or an actual plan as to how this mammoth task will actually be achieved.

Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police and the leader of the DA in Kouga at the SONA debate

It appears from his speech, Madam Speaker, that the President is more concerned about bullet trains than he is about the bullets taking the lives of innocent South Africans on a daily basis.

While the President is dreaming millions of ordinary South Africans are having nightmares.

Nightmares of being, attacked, robbed, raped or murdered.

These South Africans are our Mothers and Fathers living in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth and Elsies River right here in Cape Town, who fear that their children, on their way to school or guarding cars outside a Mosque like 12 year old Aswin Jansen, may be mowed down in a hail of bullets fired from one of the more than 800 guns stolen from the Police and wielded by a gangster who was put back on the streets by the very criminal justice system designed to protect these children.

They are our Grandmothers like Nomangesi Peter from Luqoqweni Village who was kidnapped, tortured and paraded naked before being killed. They are too old to defend themselves from serial rapists and murderers who target these, our most vulnerable citizens in rural villages and towns because they know that the chances of being caught by the police are slim to none.

They are our farmers and farmworkers from the rural Eastern Cape to Thoyandou who live in constant fear that they will be next because the ANC government does not deem rural safety a priority.

These nightmares are not the imagination of some fictional characters living in a fanciful futuristic country. These are real stories about real people Mr President. They are experiences grounded in the harsh reality of millions of South African’s sitting at home looking to this Parliament and their President for hope that they can one day live in a safe city, town or village. Not a SMART city Mr President, a SAFE city.

They want to go to bed knowing that criminals lurking around outside their homes will get caught and that they will be locked up.

Surely this is not too much for them to ask.

The fact that there was absolutely no mention of rural Safety in the SONA demonstrates just how out of touch this ANC government is and how little it cares about people living in remote rural communities who are being targeted by violent criminals.

In KwaMlaza village in the Port St Johns Municipality, for example, violent crime has led to villagers fleeing their homes after 9 people, 8 of them women, have been hacked to death or raped and then killed in the past 5 years with not one successful prosecution. In this village the people have given up hope in the police who appear to operate on a catch and release basis allowing criminals to walk amongst their victims.

Every other day we read about farmers, farmworkers and their families being brutally attacked and often tortured by violent criminals.

In May this year, Tool and Liezel Wessels were attacked on their farm in Bonnievale. Boiling water was poured over her and she was made to watch as her husband was stabbed to death.

Your deafening silence on the violence committed in rural communities across our country is unacceptable Mr President. It is time for bold action to tackle crime and rural safety now, we do not have another ten years.

Madam Speaker, there is still time to turn the tide on the rural crime wave sweeping our nation if we act now. The DA has a rural safety plan which can restore hope and order to the most isolated and vulnerable communities: from the commercial farm in Viljoenskroon to the rural village outside Keiskamahoek.

It is a plan that focuses on building a smart police force equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to deploy cutting edge technology in the fight against crime. We believe that the deployment of drones with heat sensing technology into rural communities will assist in tracking down criminals and bringing them to book. This is not a ten-year plan Mr President, this technology is available today and can be deployed tomorrow.

We believe that by establishing Rural Community Policing Units with community members trained as rural reservists policing capacity will be augmented in some of the most isolated regions of our country. The DA’s Rural Safety Plan offers tangible solutions to curb the rising tide of rural crime.

Madam Speaker, South Africans deserve an honest and professional police service that they can trust led by men and women of integrity who are well trained and resourced to keep our citizens safe.

In building an effective and fit for purpose SAPS a DA national government would move swiftly to ensure:

    • A zero-tolerance approach to corruption within the SAPS;
    • The appointment of fit for purposes officers and management who are passionate about policing;
    • The retraining all police officers to serve and protect with pride;
    • Making policing a provincial responsibility; and
    • Establish an effective drug-busting force.

When it comes to fighting corruption Madam Speaker, this Parliament has an immediate opportunity to strike fear into the hearts of the corrupt and criminal elements within SAPS by appointing a permanent head of IPID with unimpeachable integrity who will clean out the rot that has taken over SAPS. This is our moment to give real hope to all South Africans living in fear that we are serious about their safety.

In spite of the President’s promises in the 2018 SONA that he would focus on the distribution of police resources to areas hardest hit by crime the situation is getting worse. In the Western Cape last year, half of all murders were recorded at only 13% of police stations.

These are the stations that need resources Mr President. Murder in Philippi East precinct has increased by 180% over the five-year period from 2013/14 to 17/18, and by 36.7% in the last financial year. This station now has 1 officer per 344 citizens. Over the past two years, the Western Cape provincial ratio has deteriorated from one police officer to every 385 people, down to one police officer to every 509 people.

While the ANC government is playing politics with the lives of the people of the Western Cape, the people in Nyanga, Mitchells Plain and Hanover Park have to fear for their lives.

A DA-led national government would give more of the powers and functions of policing to provincial police commissioners and station commanders, so they are empowered to tackle crime on a local level.

Madam Speaker, in South Africa every day 109 people are raped, and 57 people are murdered. During this debate somebody will be attacked, raped or murdered.

The DA has a plan to turn this horrific situation around. The question is Mr President, do you?

Andrew Whitfield

DA Shadow Minister of Police