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Assault most common complaint against SAPS, Ipid tells Parly

The watchdog body has on Friday briefed a joint committee on security and justice where it revealed that it received 200 more complaints against police compared to the same period last year.

FILE: SAPS members on parade at the Cape Town train station during a visit by Police Minister Bheki Cele on 6 May 2019. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has told Parliament that assault has been the most common complaint against officers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The watchdog body on Friday briefed a joint committee on Security and Justice where it revealed that it received 200 more complaints against police compared to the same period last year.

Thuso Kefelakae, the acting director for investigations in IPID, has told MPs the watchdog has been on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take complaints about police abuses.

He said a total of 828 complaints were received between 26 March and 5 May, ranging from torture to assault: “With torture, we had a total of 25 and then assaults were the most cases that were recorded during the lockdown period.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele had earlier acknowledged that some police officers had been heavy-handed, but he defended their conduct overall.

"Many members do their jobs accordingly, according to the book and many members are there to make sure they always do their jobs."