Solidarity announced today at a media conference that it is aware of at least 13 cases where false accusations of racism have been levelled against white police officers. In most cases it had been falsely claimed that the police officers had used the k-word.
“False accusations of racism are becoming systemic in the Police Service. The k-word has become a weapon that is used to avoid disciplinary action. Such accusations have incredible emotional and career consequences for the victims of the false accusations. Those who abuse unacceptable words should be given the same firm treatment as those who use the words,” Dr Dirk Hermann Solidarity COO said.
Solidarity also announced a campaign aimed at exposing race bullies in the SAPS, making sure they bear the consequences of their misconduct and that those consequences are seen through.
Part of the campaign will focus on encouraging police members to report false accusations of racism and double standards that apply when it comes to dealing with racism in the SAPS to Solidarity to enable it to draft a comprehensive report on the matter. Such report will then be submitted to the SAPS and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for them to take action.
According to Renate Barnard, sector coordinator at Solidarity, the trade union is seeing more and more cases of employees within the SAPS wanting to use race as a trump card to have a colleague removed from the organisation, the very reason often being that that colleague tried to hold them accountable for misconduct or tried to discipline them for failing to perform their duties,” Barnard contends.
Solidarity also expressed its concern over the SAPS’s internal procedures that are followed in dealing with such cases. Barnard explains: “The system is currently designed in such a way that any person accused of racism is almost immediately treated with distrust, rejection and contempt. This while there is little, if any, consequence for those who are constantly spreading false accusations. This state of affairs simply cannot continue. By dealing with such cases in this manner the SAPS is simply encouraging more divisive racist behaviour, making it impossible for employees to work together peacefully.”
Furthermore, Solidarity strongly denounces the climate that is currently prevailing in the SAPS and makes the point that Solidarity considers it necessary to enforce accountability and equal treatment in those cases where the SAPS itself refuses to apply those principles. “The rationale for our campaign has to do with the fact that not only have we noticed an unacceptable number of false accusations of racism being made within the SAPS but also that the frequency of such accusations against our members is on the increase every year. Yet, despite the many cases where we have successfully defended our members, the SAPS does nothing to discourage such accusations,” Barnard pointed out.
Barnard contends that the only way to tackle this phenomenon is to make sure that lying is not allowed to go without consequences – especially when lies relate to serious matters such as racist slurs. “Simply making such an allegation can cause irreparable damage to that person’s career and personal life. It should be dealt with as being a serious offence within the organisation.”
The campaign Solidarity launched in the SAPS has a dual purpose: firstly to encourage its members and other victims of similar behaviour to actively participate in the campaign and to share their stories with Solidarity to enable Solidarity to compile a comprehensive report about such instances. “The first step is to grasp the magnitude of the problem. The rate at which we see such complaints coming in is already alarming. One can therefore really be worried about the number of similar cases that just never reach us. A preliminary synoptic investigation already revealed the existence of 13 most perturbing cases,” Barnard explained.
The second leg of Solidarity’s campaign involves making sure that rules are applied consistently whereby everyone – regardless of skin colour – receives equal treatment before the law. The report that will be compiled from the information generated by this campaign will be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the SAPS. “We are extremely frustrated with the double standards that apply when it comes to dealing with racism in the SAPS. When there are allegations of white on black racism, no time is lost to take action without any further investigation, but in a case of gross racist statements made by a black member of the SAPS (See Addendum A) they drag their feet to deal with it. We have already filed a complaint with the SAHRC seven months ago about an incident involving a case of repulsive hate speech, but it has still not been finalised. After several complaints had been lodged, the SAPS as an employer has dragged its feet to take action against the member in question,” Barnard said.
Siphiwe Keneth Mtsweni, a South African Police Service officer, wrote on his Facebook page:
“Unfortunately humans have never been white… you are sub-humans meaning alien creature like… You think big but plan small… what were you thinking when creating Apartheid and taking people’s land. So you thought it wouldn’t catch up?…Typical classical morons… that was a long f***ing term plan but not a forever one… now that’s what I call stupid and not humankind brains…what now…? Crying babies, tastings your own f***ing medicine… EFF is coming seuntjie… hear me boy… Your wife is going to be my b*tch… and turn your daughters to be my leisure snacks when I get h*rny… And one more thing Satan get the f*** out of Africa if you still see that you are surrounded by k*k… and f*** you in many generations to come… jou ma se gat…c*nt… you got a nerve”
View the affidavit: https://solidariteit.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Affidavit.pdf
- Lieutenant Colonel Annemarie Oosthuizen, former HR Commander: Klerksdorp SAPS, North West Province
- Tried to initiate disciplinary steps for misconduct against two junior members under her command when they failed to report for duty.
- These two members then alleged that she had used the K-word.
- Colonel Oosthuizen was subjected to an internal hearing, taken to the Equality Court by the HRC, and found not guilty in all cases.
- No action was taken against the members who falsely accused her.
- Lieutenant Colonel Elaine van Zyl, HR Commander: Pretoria North SAPS, Gauteng
- Tried to initiate disciplinary action against two subordinates.
- They threatened her by saying that they would “get rid” of her if she continued.
- These members alleged that she used the K-word.
- In two separate investigations and a hearing, no evidence was found against Van Zyl.
- No action has yet been taken against the two warrant officers.
- Brigadier Reinette Pieterse, former Station Commander, Pretoria Central SAPS, Gauteng
- During a meeting, she was berated as being a racist, with members demanding that she be relieved of her position with immediate effect and sent to the dog unit because she had no human relations.
- The complainants refused to confirm their allegations under oath, and the departmental case against Pieterse was withdrawn.
- She was nonetheless relieved of her position and transferred to another site.
- No action has yet been taken against the complainants.
- Brigadier Eddie Enslin, former Group Commander: Mankweng Group, SAPS Limpopo
- He reprimanded four subordinates for misconduct and failure to comply with a lawful instruction.
- A trade union representative confronted Enslin in the presence of staff members and alleged that Enslin had throttled him and had used the K-word.
- A witness, Constable Maahlo, strongly denied the allegations.
- The complainants substantially contradicted themselves during Enslin’s hearing and alleged impossibilities.
- Brigadier Enslin was found guilty and discharged, but is waiting for a date for his hearing at the SSSBC regarding an unfair dismissal.
- Lieutenant Colonel M Drewel, SCM Subsection Head: Nelspruit Provincial Commissioner’s Office, SAPS Mpumalanga
- A colleague accused her of using the K-word during a difference of opinion regarding an air conditioner.
- The witness in the case said in his statement that he did not hear anything.
- The outcomes of two criminal cases are still being awaited.
- Colonel Berdine Janse van Vuuren: Operational Reaction Service, Head Office
- A subordinate submitted a seventh grievance against Janse van Vuuren and alleged that she had incited other people to register charges against him (inter alia criminal cases brought by other colleagues against him).
- Janse van Vuuren reported several incidents of harassment and false accusations to her direct commander.
- The subordinate was found guilty of misconduct, but it was also said that it was only minor misconduct and that no remedial action was required.
- Colonel Willie Naudé: King Shaka International Airport, SAPS KwaZulu-Natal
- Naudé launched an investigation on alleged corruption and misconduct at the airport.
- Fifty-six of his staff members (all members of the same trade union) accused him of racism and that he behaved like a dictator.
- He received death threats and was berated on social media.
- No action has been taken against any person.
- Lieutenant Colonel Francois de Wet, Head of Vispol: Hermanus, SAPS Western Cape
- De Wet reported subordinate shift workers who failed to report for duty.
- He was accused by the workers of being racist and they alleged Colonel De Wet “is stuck in pre-1994”.
- He lodged a complaint about the false allegations.
- The case is currently with the Labour Court, but to date no action has been taken against any person.
- Warrant Officers Pieter and Venessa Westenberg: SAPS Mounted Police, SAPS Gauteng
- The Westenbergs are part of a group grievance about racism and the have been accused of using the K-word.
- Constable Sitela explained in her affidavit that junior members had been intimidated by a sergeant to make false allegations.
- Despite this behaviour, as well as public racist utterances in the presence of junior staff members, no action has yet been taken against the sergeant.
- Captain Anelda Badenhorst, Head of HR, Dog Unit: Benoni, SAPS Gauteng
- Three members of Benoni’s Dog Unit were identified by a complainant as suspects in an armed robbery and kidnapping.
- Badenhorst was appointed to serve the disciplinary notices on the respective members.
- One member refused to take the notice from Badenhorst and accused her of being a racist. He also threatened her with physical violence.
- No action has been taken against the member and he is still working in the Dog Unit.
- Captain Johanna Jonker: Orkney, SAPS North West Province
- Jonker lodged a grievance against one of her subordinates due to his refusal to execute a lawful instruction.
- The staff member expressed his anger on Facebook that same evening and wrote among other things “F***ing White People”. He also expressed his dismay about the fact that he had to work with and under white people.
- After an initial verdict of guilty and a dismissal, the sanction was set aside, and the staff member was re-instated in his post.
- No record of any disciplinary sanction appears on the member’s statement of conduct.
- Captain James Henrico: SAPS Court Services, High Court Pretoria, SAPS Gauteng
- Henrico reprimanded a subordinate because the member’s SAPS ID card had expired.
- The subordinate accused Henrico of racism and of using the K-word.
- Henrico was found not guilty after a departmental hearing.
- No action was taken against the staff member who accused him falsely.
- Warrant Officer MJA Mostert: Head of Vispol, SAPS Kleinmond, SAPS Western Cape
- Mostert was appointed as an investigative officer in a departmental hearing against two members under his orders. The complaint was about serious misconduct and corruption.
- Mostert found during his investigation that a prima facie case was evident against the members.
- The two members opened a criminal case of assault and crimen injuria against Mostert and alleged he had used the K-word.