Audit reports reveal ‘dirty little secrets’

The South African Police Service and the department of correctional services face legal claims worth billions of rands, according to their respective annual reports.

The police have been slapped with almost R11-billion in civil claims, with almost R9-billion resulting from “police actions”. More than R900-million is being claimed for shooting incidents and a further R700-million constitutes claims for assault. The claims, listed as contingent liabilities, have risen sharply from just more than R7-billion in 2009-2010.

The department of correctional services faces civil claims of more than R970-million for bodily injury and assault. A further R170-million is being claimed for unlawful detention, R13-million for deaths in detention and R13-million for pain and suffering.

Diane Kohler-Barnard, the Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson on police matters, called the mounting legal claims the police’s “dirty little secret” and said they indicated that the legal services department had long been in disarray. The claims amount to about 19% of the department’s total budget of R58-million.

Neither the police nor the correctional services department responded to questions.

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Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.

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