Updating the police portfolio committee on the progress in implementing the Farlam Commission findings‚ South African Police Service official Nashee Sewperdsadh said the police were taking a”conciliatory approach” to settling litigation and were trying to reach settlements‚ to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.
She said that claims included families who had lost support when their loved ones were killed‚ those who were injured‚ and unlawful arrest claims.
The total of R1.1 billion is made up of 652 claims for the following:
– Six claims for injuries sustained as a result of police assault or arrest valued at R19.8 million; and
– 285 claims for wrongful assault‚ arrest‚ detention and malicious prosecution valued at R870 million.
Sewperdsadh said that police would defend “certain” unlawful arrest claims.
The SAPS legal counsel were preparing settlement offers for 275 of the claims‚ but were still awaiting proof of detention from the attorneys so as to compare with the police cell registers from the time.
– 36 claims for injuries as a result of shootings valued at approximately R100 million; and
– 325 claims for loss of support as a result of the death of a loved on valued at R179 million.
Sewperdsadh said that the state had so far finalised seven settlement offers and had 20 offers accepted in principle by the representatives of families‚ which still needed to be formalised.
Sewperdsadh also said that SAPS had offered to pay for the use of medical experts so that medical claims could be settled.
Police minister Nathi Nhleko said he did not see the payment for medical experts by SAPS becoming “precedent” in future claims against SAPS but said that the experts would help determine the “nature and extent of injuries and inform the quantum to be arrived at in terms of claiming”.
He said that it was difficult to tell when the claims would all be settled as they relied on legal processes to be completed.
“The R1.1 billion presented here is an amount linked to a certain number of individuals‚ loss of support‚ injuries and of course fatalities”.
He said: “We can do the wailing about how this shouldn’t have happened. We can do that‚ but what is the value add? We should instead be firm in our resolve that this never happens again and we should derive definite lessons from it.”
Nhleko was joined at the committee by Independent Police Investigations Directorate boss Robert McBride for one of their first public appearances since relations between the two soured.
McBride sat several rows back from Nhleko.
McBride hinted at the frosty relations between himself and SAPS when a question was raised about what charges if any‚ had been brought against police officers who had been involved in the shootings.
SAPS told the committee that no charges had been brought but McBride said‚ “I find it strange that they were all cleared‚ given that so many people died”. He said IPID should have been called on to investigate so that “the police don’t investigate themselves”.
– TMG Digital/Parliamentary Bureau