Home South African R16bn: That is the amount police are facing in civil claims

R16bn: That is the amount police are facing in civil claims

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Police are facing massive civil claims amounting to R16 billion, with new claims filed this year when others are already pending in court.

Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town – Police are facing massive civil claims amounting to R16 billion, with new claims filed this year when others are already pending in court.

The SAPS said in the last financial year, there were more than 10 000 lawsuits filed against them for police brutality, unlawful arrests and detention.

However, the police have paid more than R367 million in civil claims against R239m that was paid out in the previous financial year.

The police said measures were taken to reduce civil claims against them.

But the civil lawsuits have been rising over the years.

“During 2020/2021, a total of 10 689 new civil claims were registered, valued at R16 782 612 292.45. A total of 52 203 claims valued at R59 812 179 327.28 were still pending as of 31 March 2021. These claims emanate from previous financial years, as well as the current financial year,” said the SAPS in the annual report tabled in Parliament.

The police said they had developed measures to cut down on the claims.

Part of the measures would be to get the police to change their behaviour and avoid unlawful actions.

It is based on these actions that lead to members of the public going to court to sue the police.

“Specific emphasis was also placed on interventions for the down management of civil claims, focusing on the primary generators of civil claims, (against) unlawful arrests and detention, among others. Inspections were also conducted at the top 10 police stations identified as national contributors.

“The purpose of down management of civil claims is to provide guidance on proactive and preventative measures, coupled with creating awareness. There were engagements on analysing the trends.

“A new National Instruction on Civil Claims and Integrity Management highlighted the need for a complete mindset change and the need for SAPS employees to change ‘attitudes and behaviours’, in order to prevent unlawful behaviours, which contribute to unlawful actions leading to civil claims. Emphasis was also placed on the responsibilities of line managers/functionaries and the need for accountability at all levels in the SAPS,” said the police.

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