South Africans’ trust in police drops to new low, Afrobarometer survey finds

Public services

South Africans’ trust in the country’s police is at historically low levels, new Afrobarometer survey findings show.

Popular trust in the South African Police Service (SAPS) has declined by about half over the past decade. Most citizens think most police officials are corrupt, and a small number of citizens report having to pay bribes to obtain police assistance or avoid problems with the police.

The SAPS has been plagued by scandals over the past decade. Four of the country’s seven post-apartheid National Police Commissioners have been dismissed from office and convicted on charges of fraud, corruption, and dishonest conduct.

Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole had been served with a notice of intention to suspend him, stoking speculation that the country’s top police official may be dismissed in the coming weeks. Sitole, who was appointed in 2017 by former President Jacob Zuma, has been accused of misconduct in connection with his alleged role in frustrating internal police investigations.