The #BlueLightMafia eight’s internal disciplinary hearing has been scheduled at last, with witnesses called to testify between 21 and 24 November, while their criminal trial date has been set for 6 to 10 May 2024. Action Society criticised the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) lack of urgency in the matter.
According to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society, the SAPS has dragged its feet at every investigation stage. It took ten days to suspend the eight and more than 20 days to arrest them. From there, the SAPS allowed the eight’s paid suspension period to lapse without finalising the disciplinary investigations, only now hearing evidence four months later. Meanwhile, all eight are back at work receiving their full pay.
“Too often, police members who commit violent crimes walk away with only a slap on the wrist. This happens because the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) can only make recommendations to the SAPS to consider disciplinary action, but it is up to the SAPS to act or not. And, it seems that they choose not to act more often than not, allowing a surge of intimidation to continue to grow.
Cases involving Blue Light brigade motor vehicle accidents and violent encounters with VIP Protection officers are increasing. “The one thing that all the cases have in common is intimidation. They use their vehicles as weapons, pushing drivers to the side. Many lives have been lost in accidents caused by speeding and negligent driving. In cases like the #BlueLightMafia, the intimidation was escalated even further when several weapons were pointed at the driver and his passengers, and then the serious assault followed.”
IPID needs to be established as an independent Section 9 Institution, and a giant purge is necessary to get rid of corrupt and abusive police members. Meanwhile, the courts have a responsibility to protect those who act as witnesses in court cases. Yesterday, a couple who was scheduled to appear in a disciplinary hearing against Blue Light Cops was shot outside court.
Action Society will continue with oversight and support to the BlueLightMafia’s survivors.