n Law, Democracy & Development - Who is watching the watchers? : a critical assessment of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's prospects of investigating misconduct in the South African Police Service

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



Recent events have again turned the public spotlight on the conduct of police officers in the execution of their duties. The public display of violence and brutality against a Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Marcia, by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Daveyton, Gauteng in February 2013, exposed the brazen abuse of power by some elements within the SAPS. Against this background, it can be asked whether the institutions established in terms of legislation relating to oversight of the police are capable of investigating police misconduct. This article examines whether the recently-established Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has the potential to be an effective oversight mechanism to ensure accountability - in respect of the SAPS. It examines, in particular, the IPID's mandate to investigate corruption matters within the SAPS, and whether - in its current form and capacity - it is effectively fulfilling its mandate. It is concluded that while much progress has been made since the time of the largely ineffectual Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), the predecessor of the IPID, there remain significant risks to the efficient, effective and independent execution of the IPID's mandate.

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