About the Western Cape Police

Ombudsman (WCPO)


About the Western Cape Police Ombudsman

The Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) seeks to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the police services and to improve relations between the police and the communities by investigating complaints of police inefficiency and/or a breakdown of relations between the police and any community. The Western Cape Police Ombudsman is an impartial and independent body created in terms of Section 206 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996). The Ombudsman and staff members of the Ombudsman provide their service independently and impartially, and perform their functions in good faith and without fear, favour, bias or prejudice, subject to the Constitution and the law. The Ombudsman and staff members of the Ombudsman always preserve confidentiality in respect of any information acquired.

The mandate of the Western Cape Ombudsman

The legal mandate of the Ombudsman is derived from Section 206 (3) of the Constitution. This section provides that each province is entitled to monitor police conduct; to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service, including receiving reports on the police service; to promote good relations between the police and the community; to assess the effectiveness of visible policing; and to liaise with the cabinet member responsible for policing with respect to crime and policing in the province.

Chapter 8 of the Constitution of the Western Cape sets out the policing functions of the Western Cape government.

Section 66 (1) of the Constitution of the Western Cape provides that the Western Cape government is entitled to monitor police conduct; to assess the effectiveness of visible policing; to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service, including receiving reports on the police service; to promote good relations between the police and the community; and to liaise with the national cabinet member responsible for policing with respect to crime and policing in the Western Cape.

The functions of the Ombudsman are set out in Section 15 of the Western Cape Community Safety Act. In terms of this section, the Ombudsman must:

  • receive and may investigate complaints regarding inefficiency of the police or a breakdown in relations between the police and any community; and

  • perform the other functions assigned to him or her under the Western Cape Community Safety Act.

Vision of the Western Cape Ombudsman

A Western Cape society where there is mutual respect and trust between the people and the police.

Mission of the Western Cape Ombudsman

To impartially and independently investigate and seek to resolve complaints against police inefficiencies and/or a breakdown in relations between the police and any community.

Values of the Western Cape Ombudsman

  • Integrity

  • Trust

  • Accountability

  • Fairness

  • Quality

  • Dedication

  • Partnerships

  • Empathy

Types of complaints the Ombudsman accepts

Complaints against administrative actions, procedures and practices against the SAPS in the Western Cape and the CTMPD, such as:

  • lack of communication with the complainant/victim;

  • poor service delivery;

  • poor communication;

  • poor investigation;

  • unacceptable conduct;

  • failure to conduct themselves in a proper or fair manner;

  • failure to follow correct procedures;

  • disregard for the principles of Batho Pele; and

  • failure to respond to an enquiry, complaint or other correspondence.

The Ombudsman does not receive complaints against municipal law enforcement and traffic services.

Who can register a complaint?

  • Members of the public, including foreign nationals and tourists visiting the Western Cape who are dissatisfied with the service received from the South African Police Services or the Municipal Police Services;

  • any member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament;

  • civil society organisations; and

  • any other department or organisation.

Can a person or organisation outside the Western Cape Province register a complaint with the Western Cape Police Ombudsman?

The Western Cape Ombudsman investigates complaints within the Western Cape Province. A person visiting the province may register a complaint against the police to the Ombudsman for an incident that affects one of the police stations in the Western Cape.

Can a resident of Western Cape register a complaint against the police for an incident that occurred in another province?

No. The mandate of the Ombudsman is only in respect of police working in the Western Cape Province.

How can a person register a complaint?

Complaints can be lodged via:

  • telephone: 021 483 0669;

  • fax: 021 483 0660;

  • e-mail: ombudsman@wcpo.gov.za;

  • registered post: the complainant must keep proof that the complaint has been posted to:

Private Bag X9043

Cape Town

8000

  • online: on the Western Cape Police Ombudsman website www.westerncape.gov.za/police-ombudsman/ lodge-complaint (complete Annexure A Form 1 which is available in English, Afrikaans and IsiXhosa [see page 16]); or

  • visit to the Ombudsman offices: 80 St Georges Mall, 6th Floor, Waldorf Building, Cape Town (our entrance is opposite Edgars); office hours: Monday to Friday 07:00–16:00 (excluding public holidays).

A complaint must specify:

  • The name, identity or passport number and contact details of the complaint, if available;

  • the nature of the complaint;

  • the date and place of the incident;

  • a description of the incident and the grounds on which the complainant believes that the complaint should be investigated;

  • the name of any police official involved in the incident or matter, if known to the complainant;

  • the name of the police station, if applicable;

  • the names and addresses, if available, of any person

  • who can provide information relevant to the complaint;

  • information regarding other mechanisms that the complainant has used in an attempt to resolve the complaint;

  • particulars of any person who was involved in an attempt to resolve the complaint; and

  • any other relevant information or documents that can be used during the investigation.

Complainants must ensure that they provide sufficient information in the complaint such as the names of people they have dealt with.

What does a person/complainant need to submit for a complaint on behalf of an organisation?

Submit written proof that you are an authorised and delegated person to lodge a complaint on behalf of another person, an organisation, department or civil society organisation or association.

What happens when a complaint is lodged?

The WCPO must acknowledge receipt of a complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The WCPO must upon receipt of a complaint determine whether the complaint falls within the ambit of Section 16(1) or (2) of the Western Cape Community Safety Act.

Any complaint or aspect thereof may be referred in writing by the WCPO to an appropriate authority or institution that is competent to deal with the complaint.

The complainant must be informed in writing by the WCPO of the referral of a complaint to an appropriate authority or institution.

If a complaint is investigated by the WCPO, the complainant must be informed in writing by the WCPO that his or her complaint is being investigated by an identified investigating officer and of the name and contact details of the investigating officer.

The WCPO must give written notice to the executive head of the CTMPD concerned or the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS, as the case may be, of an investigation in terms of Section 17 of the Western

Cape Community Safety Act and invite the police service concerned to submit written comment on the complaint to the WCPO within the period stated in the notice.

How long does the Ombudsman take to investigate?

The Ombudsman resolves complaints at the earliest possible opportunity.

What action does the Ombudsman take after the investigation?

  • The complainant is notified of the outcome.

  • A recommendation is sent to the Provincial Com-Missioner or the executive head of the relevant police department.

  • A quarterly report is issued to the Standing Committee on Community Safety concerning the recommendations made.

  • If the Ombudsman is of the opinion that the complaint is of a serious nature or that it should be dealt with by a commission of inquiry, then the Ombudsman may recommend to the premier that a commission of inquiry be appointed.