Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has issued a stern warning about the ongoing lawsuits against “lawless police officers”.
He said the “command, control and upholding of the constitutional principles should be intensified. Senior police management should immediately begin to tighten enforcement to curb lawlessness among officers.
“A total of R106239616.81 was paid in legal costs as a result of 8074 civil claims brought against the SAPS for the 2010-11 financial year.
Payment of legal costs is not linked to a particular police station, but if an officer is sued for whatever act of misconduct, it is the state that suffers financially and we cannot allow such things to become the norm,” Mthethwa said.
He said he believed that with stricter monitoring of police members’ conduct there could be fewer lawsuits.
“Instead of paying legal costs, such amounts could be better utilised in other crucial programmes of the SAPS, including the building of new police stations in areas previously neglected,” he said.
An amount of R87.2-million was paid in lawsuits for false arrests, assaults and shootings during the 2009/2010 financial year.
However, Mthethwa faces another lawsuit of R5-million from President Jacob Zuma’s adviser Zizi Kodwa.
On Monday, Kodwa’s lawyer, Gugulethu Madlanga, served papers on Mthethwa notifying him that Kodwa, whose real names are Ncediso Goodenough, intended suing.
Yesterday, Madlanga described the police’s inaction to release Kodwa’s blood sample results as “upsetting”.
“I was expecting their response by Monday afternoon but I haven’t received it,” Madlanga said.
Gauteng police spokesman Colonel Katlego Mogale said his department was looking into the matter. Kodwa was arrested by two officers for suspected drunken driving on Sturdee Avenue in Rosebank, Johannesburg, about two weeks ago.
He appeared briefly in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court and his case was postponed to March next year.