Policing under apartheid sought to uphold and advance the illegitimate state through brutality and repression. It often used the power of the state to terrorise and brutalise South African citizens.
In the democratic dispensation this was to change, or rather it was supposed to. However, the SAPS has continued to be a site of contestation and a lack of transformation. Instead of protecting, serving and upholding the Constitution, they often mirror the apartheid police in their attitudes and tactics. This includes continuing their assault on black bodies with a disproportionate number of poor and black people being targeted, sometimes fatally so. In some instances, the police see the public as potential criminals rather than citizens and the bearers of rights.
Under apartheid the police were seen as the enemy of the people and there was a great trust deficit between the population and themselves. This trust deficit, which should have been reduced in the democratic era, has continued and has in some instances been exacerbated by corruption and continuing use of excessive force in public order policing.
The Panel of Experts report gives us an opportunity to highlight the gaps and look at what needs to be done in order to bring our policing into line with the Constitution and for it to become a truly transformed force that protects and serves.
Date: Tuesday, 29 June 2021
Time: 11h00 – 12h30