How to reduce police brutality in South Africa


The weakness of police accountability systems in South Africa contributes to widespread brutality by law enforcement officers. For accountability to be strengthened, the South African Police Service (SAPS) leadership must be directly answerable for how their members use force. On their own, external oversight agencies such as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate cannot ensure accountability in police organisations such as SAPS that do not require accountability for the use of force internally.

About the author

David Bruce is an independent researcher specialising in policing and public security. He has written extensively on police violence in South Africa. From 2016 to 2018 he was a member of the panel of experts appointed by the Minister of Police on the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. He is a visiting research fellow at the Wits School of Governance.

Cover image: Ihsaan Haffejee/Groundup

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