Corrupt cops will be heavily punished - Mthethwa

50 members of SAPS have been charged with murder since January 2009


Total of 768 cases brought against an organization with 200 000 members remain a worry to police leadership

CAPE TOWN - 08 August 2011.  Any police officer who is found guilty of colluding with criminals, involved in assault, murder, rape, attempted rape and sexual assault deserves to rot in jail and the key thrown away.  In fact, the punishment of such "criminals in blue uniform" should be the harshest than normal criminals.

This is a view of the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa in reference to a written Parliamentary reply on how many cases of assault, murder, rape, attempted rape and sexual assault have been filed against members of the SAPS since 1 January 2009.  He stated that the numbers of cases were as follows:

Assault - 516

Murder - 50

Rape - 94

Attempted Rape - 7

Sexual Assault - 71

In total, 768 cases were filed against these members for the financial years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.  In an organisation that has almost two hundred-thousand (200 000) police officers, it is increasingly worrying and unacceptable that those who are entrusted with protecting the vulnerable and weak, end up traumatising and abusing people.

"These statistics are appalling and disgusting to say the least.  We do not think the figures are new but what is new is our concerted effort in rooting out such criminality. We are looking at each case, monitoring the progress and have been assured by management that internal disciplinary actions have been taken in most of these."

"To be able to wear the blue uniform must be a privilege for any police officer.  It is therefore a sad picture to see police officers trading their blue uniforms for the orange ones.  We shall continue to investigate, prosecute, convict and dismiss such corrupt cops as soon as they are identified or reported," said the Minister.

"If I were given a chance to preside over such cases, I would impose the heaviest sentences to any police officer who stands accused and is found guilty of these heinous crimes because in the main, these are no ordinary criminals.  These are people who went through our training, were taught the principles of respecting and upholding each letter of the Constitution and in addition they are committing such crimes, while in full uniform and utilising our resources," he added.

Minister Mthethwa said that even if the total figure was 1% of the total of 200 000 membership, he would still advocate for these harsher sentences.  "Such corrupt criminals not only tarnish the name of the hard-working and good cops we have; but such acts create mistrusts between the police and the communities they are supposed to serve.  That is why we have always advocated and made a clarion to society to help us apprehend such officers."

Some of the preventative and remedial steps in dealing with such criminality include: the ministry has now put tasked SAPS management to monitor the behaviour of members at police stations.  "We want to ensure that in cases where a police officer is suspected of committing such crimes, that such a case is investigated by Independent Complaints Directorate.   This approach will go a long way in building public confidence in the police while at the same time, re-enforcing government's commitment to ensure the most vulnerable in society, are not abused by the very people who should protect them.

The ministry is further cooperating with the other Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster ministries with an objective of ensuring harsher punishments for such cops.  Internally, the SAPS is also strengthening its policies on members who are found guilty of any crime, by looking at the HR policies around salaries, pensions, medical fund and with a view of blacklisting them for any future government employment. 

The ministry will continue with its public participation programmes with all sectors of society in order to help in identifying such tsotsi-cops and ensure they are apprehended.  "We want to urge members of society to continue blowing the whistle against any such corrupt cops because without such exposure, they will continue to torment society without being busted," concluded the Minister.

Statement issued by Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police, August 8 2011

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