Popular Posts

Monday, 18 August 2008

SA Police: Convicted murderers and rapists in uniform

from South Africa Sucks

JOHANNESBURG - The South African police are allowing convicted murderers, rapists, armed robbers and corrupt officials to run around with guns and police uniforms.

Responding to a parliamentary question by the opposition Democratic Alliance, the Minister of Safety and Security revealed that despite being found guilty of serious and violent crimes, at least 31 police officers were returned to active duty.

Out of 13 officers found guilty of murder, one received a written warning and six received fines.The rest were fined with suspended sentences. Three police officers with rape convictions were fined, while another got a suspended sentence.

The disciplinary hearings of fourteen other officers convicted on corruption and armed robbery charges resulted in them being returning to the police service. They received written warnings and fines. Police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Opperman said members of the SAPS faced automatic dismissal if they were found guilty of crimes outside the department and were then sentenced to serve jail time.

He added that internal hearings determined whether officers found guilty of an offence, but not sentenced to jail time, should retain their position or not. “You must remember that the Labour Relations Act is also applicable in the police service,” he said.

But this stance does not sit well with opposition politicians. “It is horrendous that South Africa has police members (who are) found guilty of crimes for which you and I would be jailed,” said the DA’s Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

The DA has called it ironic that criminal activity within the SAPS, proven in court, has not drawn the attention of the African National Congress as has the alleged corruption within the Scorpions. This while hard-pressed taxpayers are footing the bill for the salaries of criminally convicted policemen and women.

A total of R90 million in taxpayers’ money has been paid out to suspended members of the South African Police Service in the last three years, said the Democratic Alliance. According to the party, the amount covered 12 723 working days.

One of the worst cases involved the case of a Senior Superintendent in the visible policing division who was suspended for 638 days on full pay. The DA has said it would demand answers from the Minister of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula, on the matter. “It is inexplicable that dirty cops should stay in service on full pay,” the DA said. The DA also criticised the SAPS’s disciplinary processes, saying that the inability of the police service to deal appropriately with conduct issues could damage public faith in the police.

“If the SAPS is seen to let people off, then it serves as a disincentive for members of the public to lodge complaints against SAPS members, or even report crimes. “If the SAPS want to fight crime, they must get their own house in order first,” said the DA.

No comments: