The IFP welcomes the new South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill, which includes key accountability measures and strengthened vetting procedures for SAPS Officers.
Restoring the integrity of, and trust in the police by all South Africans are essential in building partnerships to fight crime and clamp down on criminal syndicates.
However, we do not welcome the provision in the Bill allowing for an increase in powers vested in the Minister of Police, whereby the Minister will be empowered to make regulations for the roles, functions, duties and obligations, requirements for appointment and disciplinary matters of deputy national and divisional commissioners.
The decentralisation of policing powers from national to provincial and local authorities would significantly improve the responsiveness of police in provinces, metros and local government councils.
The IFP firmly believes that a devolution of power is required to better equip Provincial SAPS Commissioners in ensuring that local and provincial policing expertise is enhanced, while the Minister and the National SAPS Commissioner should have a coordinating function on crime matters that may overlap, or are of national importance.
We note the changes to regulations for community policing in order to enhance the oversight of the Community Policing Forums over SAPS however, while crime prevention remains the responsibility of the entire community, community policing does not absolve the government from the primary responsibility of maintaining law and order and fighting crime.
The new rules around firearm regulations, which prohibit the use of automatic rifles in crowd control management, is a step in the right direction to demilitarise the SAPS and to increase community trust in the police.
Furthermore, we are supportive of stricter regulations surrounding the use of lethal force by SAPS and further, that members of the public will only be able to do so in instances whereby life and property are endangered simultaneously.
The IFP encourages all South Africans, Community Policing Fora and the broader safety and security community to make submissions to Parliament on recommendations to the Bill, which is now open for public comment.
Zandile Majozi, MP
IFP Spokesperson on Police
073 052 9556