Address by Independent Police Investigative Directorate Executive Director Francois Beukman at a media briefing at ICC East London regarding IPID investigations
3 Jul 2012
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me thank you for accepting our invitation to this media briefing, we value your continued interest in our work and we understand that your support is crucial to the success of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). The last time we were here we were still known as the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). Not anymore, we are no longer the ICD as from 1 April 2012 – we have been operation for the past 3 months as the IPID.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act (IPID Act), No. 1 of 2011 takes us out of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act and therefore entrenches our independence from the police.
The IPID Act focuses the investigative mandate of the Directorate to the following specified serious matters:
- Any deaths in police custody and deaths as a result of police actions,
- Any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer,
- Rape by a police officer whether on or off duty,
- Rape of any person while the person is in police custody,
- Any complaint of torture or assault against a police officer, and
- Corruption matters within the police.
The IPID Act places an obligation on the police to report to the IPID any matter falling under the scope of investigation of the Directorate and to submit a written report within 24 hours thereafter.
The IPID Act further compels members of the South African Police Service or Municipal Police Services to provide their full cooperation to the Directorate, including but not limited to:
- the arrangement of an identification parade within 48 hours of the request made by the Directorate,
- the availability of members for the taking of an affidavit or an affirmed declaration or to give evidence or produce any document in that member's possession or under his or her control which has a bearing on the matter being investigated, and
- any other information or documentation required for investigation purposes.
As you know, in the past, there was a gap in the legislation governing the ICD in that the police were not obliged to implement its recommendations. This gap is closed in the IPID Act, which requires that the National Commissioner or the appropriate Provincial Commissioner to whom recommendations regarding disciplinary matters were referred, must within 30 days of receipt thereof, initiate disciplinary proceedings in terms of the recommendations made by the Directorate.
Not only that, they must report regularly on the progress and finalisation of the matters referred to police management. Remember, in terms of the strategic outcome-orientated goals of the directorate we must contribute to a police service that is trusted by the community and operates in line with the spirit of the constitution.
Today we are here in East London to give a brief update on a number of cases that the two IPID Eastern Cape offices are dealing with. Some of the cases were carried over from the ICD:
We investigated a case of murder against two constables from the Tactical Response Team (TRT) in Port Elizabeth. It is alleged that on 23 February 2011 six police officers assaulted a person at a shop owned by a foreign national. The suspects were arrested and released on bail. One of the witnesses was shot and killed and another one was attacked and left for dead – this witness survived and was put in the witness programme.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) agreed with our recommendation to prosecute the suspects. The case is currently on trial and has been postponed to 23 October 2012 for further evidence to be led.
In December 2010, a complaint was lodged with the then ICD by a 30 year-old adult female employed by the South African Police Service alleging sexual assault by the Port Alfred Cluster Commander, Colonel Vuyile Gcaba. The alleged sexual assault took place in November 2010 in the suspect’s office.
The ICD at the time investigated the matter and made recommendations to the DPP for prosecution. The DPP decided that the suspect must be charged with three counts of sexual assault and crimen injuria. The matter has since been withdrawn after the suspect made representations to the DPP.
In another case, is alleged that Ms Luleka Feni and Mr Zamuxolo Solani were assaulted by Sergeant Slatsha and a member of the CPF in connection with counterfeit money. Ms Feni had tried to intervene to stop the assault of her brother in law Mr Solani. The two were severely assaulted by the two suspects. The matter was not reported by the SAPS but an article appeared in the Daily Dispatch on 23 May 2011 and the docket was taken over for investigation on 24 May 2011. The DPP accepted our recommendations to prosecute the suspects. The matter is on the court roll and it has been remanded to 10 July 2012.
It is alleged that on 18 June 2012, a policeman from Mdantsane SAPS and 3 civilians searched people. Three people were robbed of their cellphones allegedly with a firearm. The SAPS member and civilians were arrested by their colleagues. 3 of the accused made confessions. The suspects were denied bail and the case has been remanded for further investigations.
On another matter, it is alleged that on the 7 November 2010 the deceased Lwando Soqaka went inside Bismilla Restaurant in Sterkspruit to buy himself something to eat when he met with Constable Vusumzi Qiqimana. It is alleged that there was an argument between the deceased and the suspect that was not serious. It is further alleged that after the deceased bought food and when he turned back he said something to the suspect, the suspect took out his service pistol, put the holster on the table and shot at the deceased once on the chest and the deceased died on the spot.
The suspect was arrested on the scene and he made his first appearance in court on 15 August 2011 on charges of murder. Following subsequent appearances in court, the suspect pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment of which 2 years was suspended for 5 years.
It is alleged that the 31 year old victim was detained on fraud charges and was kept in the holding cells at Humewood SAPS on 25 May 2012. She was allegedly raped on 27 May 2012 whilst she was in detention. The victim apparently told the suspect that she was pregnant and bleeding at the time. He nonetheless forced himself on her. The suspect, a Sergeant was arrested on the same day. He is currently out on R500 bail. The case has been remanded to 15 August 2012 for further investigation and DNA results.
In Butterworth, a complainant alleges that police from the Organised Crime Unit came to his place of residence on the 14 January 2009 at about 3h40 in the morning and instructed him to dress up and come with them. He was told that they were taking him to Durban and when they arrived in Butterworth he was locked in an office where he was told that he is a suspect in a murder case of Mr. Fezekile Ntshona who was a taximan. An SAPS member allegedly tortured him and will face charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The accused was summoned to appear in court.
In another matter, the ICD received a report that police had received information about a suspect, Mr Sive Ngcebetsha who was wanted for house robbery. The police alleged that they proceeded to a certain address in Msobomvu Township and that when the suspect saw the police, he ran away. He was chased and he allegedly drew a firearm and pointed it at the police after which the police shot him dead. The investigation revealed that the police version was in fact not true.
The DPP agreed with the IPID’s recommendation that the suspect be charged with murder. The case appeared in court on 2 July 2012 and it was postponed to 28 August 2012 for the accused to acquire representation.
In April 2010 in Tamara, a Constable shot and killed his wife who was a police officer at the police station. The policeman allegedly grabbed a colleague’s firearm which he used to shoot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. He was injured but survived. The DPP decided that he be prosecuted. The case is on trial in the high court.
The ICD at the time received a complaint about an incident that occurred on 25 December 2010 at Cedarville Bar where it was alleged that police forced patrons out of a bar. It was also alleged that the patrons were assaulted such that they threw stones at the police. Police fired live rounds and several people were injured. One person was found dead with a bullet wound, the following day. The IPID recommended that 5 policemen be charged with murder and discharging a firearm in a public place. The case is with the DPP for a decision whether to prosecute or not.
These are some of the high profile cases that the IPID in the Eastern Cape dealt with. There are many more cases which do not make it onto the headlines.
The IPID in the Eastern Cape currently has 110 cases on the court roll and 90 matters are with the DPP for decisions whether to prosecute or not.
I want to thank you again for your attention.
Cell: 082 809 1927
Issued by: Independent Police Investigative Directorate
3 Jul 2012
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