Former National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli became the first provincial police ombudsman in South Africa late last year. Pikoli says that while his office does not have the power to institute criminal investigations, he has the authority to recommend the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry.
Pikoli was appointed police ombudsman of the Western Cape, following his work heading up the Commission of Inquiry into Khayelitsha SAPS in 2014.
He told CapeTalk’s Kieno Kammies that the duties of the ombudsman include adjudicating public complaints about police inefficiency and other issues that arise from poor relations between the police and the community.The mandate of his office, according to Pikoli, is different from that of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
IPID investigates alleged criminal conduct by police officials, conducting probes into reports of unlawful behavior such as police brutality.
Pikoli says that his office, on the other hand, deals with issues of poor service delivery on the part of the police, citing examples of delayed police response or negligence of court procedure.
The office then seeks to make sure that the police do their work efficiently and that complaints of the members of the public will be independently investigated.
The ombudsman said that his office does not have the power to make binding recommendations; however it has persuasive powers that help foster good relations between his office, SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Department of Justice and the judiciary.
Listen to the full conversation below: