Media release by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety on looting of shops – IPID requested to investigate apparent lack of policing
11 Jul 2012
Following media reports about the looting of a number of ‘spaza’ shops in several Western Cape communities yesterday, with photo evidence showing what appears to be the South African Police Service (SAPS) standing by and doing nothing, I will be asking the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to investigate the situation and take the necessary action where any negligence or wrong doing is identified.
If police did indeed stand by and do nothing more than watch while thugs damaged property and stole groceries I want to see these policemen and women charged with negligence. While some reports tell of police vans racing from one to scene to another there is clear photo evidence showing police standing by while looters damage property.
Police are meant to prevent and combat crime, maintain public order and protect and secure the inhabitants of our province – it would appear that they failed to do so yesterday.
I have also requested the photo evidence from the different media bodies so that I can attach these to the letter I will be sending to the head of the IPID in the Western Cape. Faces are easily identifiable in these photos.
From the media reports and various photo evidence it would appear that SAPS were unable to control the situation, and failed to protect the store owners and their goods. Top of my agenda in my next meeting with the Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, will be to take up this matter and find out whether SAPS have sufficient capacity, whether any arrests were made and why it appears from photo evidence that SAPS officers took little to no action at times.
Bishop Lavis police station was identified by General Lamoer as part of his Project 23 – police stations prioritised to receive attention – yesterday’s events clearly demonstrate that this station needs urgent intervention. We welcome that SAPS top management have already identified this station as needing serious attention.
The Western Cape should be a place where every community in the province has a safe place in which to live, work, learn, relax and move about – I want the IPID to conduct a full investigation into this apparent poor policing so that people in this province can feel safe.
Minister of Community Safety
Cell: 076 832 5505
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499
Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety
11 Jul 2012
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