Police corruption in South Africa

Paper presented at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban

Shaka Yesufu
Department of Criminology, University of KwaZulu-Natal

In South Africa today, there is no single agreed definition of corruption. However, as researchers we do know that some definitions of corruption are available, enabling us to put police corruption into context. It is disappointing enough to find out that police officers who have been entrusted by the laws of the Republic of South Africa to protect and serve us are the same people who are now being investigated for corruption. The image of the South African police has been severely damaged due to the reporting of rampant and reckless corruption amongst its rank and file. The presenter argues that if nothing is done to address the level of police institutionalised corruption our democracy may suffer as a consequence. First, this presentation is very important to all South African citizens as policing affects their everyday life. With crime like rape, murder, house breaking, assault, drugs on the increase. South Africans are very much concerned about their safety and security.

Second, it is designed to give a voice to citizens of South Africa ensuring that the responsibility of policing is left in hands of trustworthy and accountable officials.
Third, it is to identify different types of corruption and to find some solutions to it. Fourth, my presentation is designed to provide a basis for other researchers into police corruption to develop and build upon it. The presenter relies on extensive literature review, media reports, and police practical experiences and the researcher’s role and involvement being a member of the Civilian Oversight Committee dealing with issues around police accountability in South Africa.

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