Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) said that it is surprised by revelations that police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) prematurely closes cases to manipulate performance statistics.

The exposé by GroundUp and Viewfinder found that IPID completed 308 investigations in a single day, pointing out that the cases were prematurely closed to meet their case competition targets.

The expose claimed that this was a pattern which added weight to a 2014 whistle-blowers report from the Northern Cape provincial office, which claimed that case completion was driven by the pressure to generate performance statistics, and not by the natural progressions and outcomes of individual investigations.

Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said, “I think specifically on the statistical manipulations, you would normally have senior police officers in higher ranks being the ones who are investigated by IPID. We would assume that everything is going well, but again for us the main concern is that a week ago there were complaints that most people do not report cases to police because they feel that nothing will be done…”

IPID spokesperson Sontaga Seisa conceded that the police watchdog has monthly targets that they need to reach and recognised the pressures investigators find themselves under.

Seisa said, “We have very limited investigators and they have to go throughout all the provinces. They travel long hours and do work for about 2-3 weeks mostly in the field…”

He said, “We do have monthly targets, one has to ensure that you reach monthly targets – that is the reason that we need to do this on a monthly basis.”