VEZA (reveal or expose), is a new tool that was launched by Corruption Watch on Wednesday that improves transparency in policing in South Africa and places the power to hold the SAPS accountable in the hands of the public
Durban – VEZA (reveal or expose), is a new tool that was launched by Corruption Watch on Wednesday that improves transparency in policing in South Africa and places the power to hold the SAPS accountable in the hands of the public.
The website, www.veza.org.za, has been live since Wednesday at 10am.
Corruption Watch head of stakeholder relations and campaigns Kavisha Pillay said Veza was an online platform that would allow people to anonymously report instances of police corruption and misconduct.
People can also access maps and trends of corruption hot spots based on the whistle-blower reports they were receiving, access information about police station locations, budgets, resources and personnel of individual police stations, be able to rate and review police stations based on their personal experience and nominate ethical and honest officers based on personal experience.
The stand-out advantage of this innovative tool is its ability to equip a wide range of people, from researchers, journalists, activists and communities to the public at large, with the knowledge and insight to demand better and more accountable policing.
The Veza tool provides information at national, provincial and district level.
“The launch of the Veza tool signifies a new era for Corruption Watch as we explore how transparency, big data and accessible technology can be used to combat corruption and advance broader social justice issues,” said Pillay.
Corruption Watch submitted Veza to the Google Impact Challenge, which aimed to encourage local innovators to solve a social problem using technology and its idea was selected as one of the top four winners of the challenge.
That was how it received the grant which allowed it to start building Veza. It then spent the past two years engaging with communities and constituencies and various stakeholders developing and testing the idea.
Pillay said they would continue to build and add to the tool. They will also be adding key features and include various languages.
The data contained in the tool was collected from the SAPS but not all provinces provided information.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher Gareth Newham said Veza was a cutting edge innovation that had great potential to really promote and enhance police transparency, accountability and community policing and building relations with the police at a local level.
“One of the big challenges that stands in the way of police community relations in promoting professional policing, ensuring the police are transparent and accountable is the lack of information or knowledge,” said Newham.
“Police organisations not only in SA but globally, are typically quite closed institutions. They don’t like talking about what they do, they prefer not having people looking at them, watching them and criticising them. Which is understandable because they do a difficult job.”
Newham said in SA, police simply could not be effective and really improve public safety unless they were really open and transparent and had a good relationship with partners.