The Western Cape’s police ombudsman (WCPO), Johan Brand, has resigned, the province’s community safety department confirmed.
Brand’s resignation was noted by the province’s community safety minister, Albert Fritz, who thanked him for his “thorough work while serving in the post which has impacted positively on the lives of many”.
Fritz said Brand was “diligent and thorough in all aspects of his work”.
He said that during the 2019-2020 financial year, the ombudsman saw a 781.928% increase in investigation requests since its inception in 2014-2015.
When it was first established, there were just 83 complaints, which increased to 732 in the last financial year.
Fritz said he welcomed the increase in complaints, “as it demonstrates both active citizenry and the growing confidence that the public has in the work of the WCPO, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mr Brand”.
A number of high-profile investigations were conducted during Brand’s time as the WCPO.
This includes revealing the Overstrand SAPS’ alleged inability to perform their constitutional and legislative mandate due to a shortage of manpower and resources.
The ombudsman also investigated allegations that police vehicles were being driven recklessly when inmates were being transported to and from Pollsmoor Correctional Facility. The ombudsman found that various instructions and directives issued by police were not complied with.
During Brand’s time, the ombudsman also investigated police’s alleged inability to provide victims with support. It was alleged that victims experienced secondary trauma due to police not being adequately trained.
“I know that our office has and will continue to make a difference in people’s lives in terms of addressing the SAPS’ inefficiencies, and whilst not everyone is always happy with the outcomes or the findings of our investigations, I am confident that our office has conducted fair, unbiased and thorough investigations,” Brand said.
“I wish to thank all the staff and stakeholders for their commitment and support during my tenure as the WCPO.”
Brand was appointed as ombudsman in August 2018. The previous ombudsman was Advocate Vusi Pikoli.
Compiled by Nica Richards