Over 180 cops on suspension with full pay

The ISS is concerned nearly 200 officials have been receiving salaries while on suspension since last January.

FILE: Over 180 police officers in the country have been on suspension with full pay since last January.Picture: Saps.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says it's worrying that over 180 police officers in the country have been on suspension with full pay since last January.

In a recent Parliamentary reply, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko revealed that almost 200 South African Police Service (SAPS) members still have disciplinary cases pending against them, which have cost his department more than R6 million.

The institute's Johan Burger says often disciplinary cases are needlessly delayed.

"I think it's a ridiculous situation and I think one of the reasons for this often is the tendency within the police service to link disciplinary action with criminal prosecution. There is no real link between the two."

Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament, Dianne Kohler Barnard believes the police service's disciplinary processes have collapsed.

"It's just the latest example of this huge spending of the budget that should be focused on the fight against crime and capacitation of the SAPS."

Meanwhile, police last week refuted claims R40 million is being spent on the services' annual Music and Cultural Unity Festival.

The DA had questioned why so much tax payers' money had reportedly been set aside for an event to entertain officers.

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police will quiz police management about the funds allocated when they appear in the House next month.

Kohler-Barnard raised concerns with the committee, saying the event is nothing but a waste of money that could have been used for essential police equipment.

"A music competition, within the SAPS, paid for by tax payers, I find it outrageous."

But the police's Solomon Makgale says only R4 million is being budgeted for the event to be held in the Easter Cape this year and not R40 million.

Makgale says once the budget is approved, the bulk of it will be spent on accommodation and transporting officers to Port Elizabeth.