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KwaZulu-Natal Top Cop Challenges Public to Report Off-Duty Officers in Uniform at Markets

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

Recent comments from KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi have sparked public attention. In a meeting with Community Policing Forum (CPF) bodies, Mkhwanazi condemned police officers grocery shopping while in full uniform and entreated community members to photograph and report such activities. He stressed that this behaviour is unacceptable within his ranks, eliciting a mixed reaction of murmurs and sounds of amusement from attendees.

Mkhwanazi's open approach to fighting unethical policing behaviours in KwaZulu-Natal has been praised within police circles. He stressed the importance of professional conduct for both civilian and police officers, stating, "(If there is) a police vehicle marked in the name of a police station, in an area outside that policing area, take a picture and send it to us". Mkhwanazi emphasized the importance of maintaining police precinct boundaries and ensuring vehicles purchased for specific stations remain in their dedicated areas.

He added that enforcement leaders should be accountable if vehicles are found outside their precinct. Mkhwanazi's commitment to confronting misconduct extends to rampant unethical behaviours prevalent within South African police forces.

Last year, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) had 14,063 active cases against officers, 77% of them backlog cases, with 3,212 lodged between April 1, 2022, and February 14 of the following year. The ubiquity of camera-equipped cellphones has resulted in a surge of reported police misconduct. Hard-hitting instances like those involving four presidential protection unit officers, assigned to Deputy President Paul Mashatile, brutally mistreating motorists on the N1 in Johannesburg, illustrate the growing need for reform.

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