Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sort out police corruption, Phiyega warned

Sort out police corruption, Phiyega warned
2012-09-08 07:31

Riah Phiyega (File, Sapa)

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Corruption in police lab - cop union

Johannesburg - The national police commissioner was given an ultimatum on Friday to attend to alleged corruption at the police forensic laboratory in Silverton, Pretoria.

"Failure to attend to these matters will leave us with no option but to mobilise all our resources for one of the biggest marches ever [under]taken by us," Gauteng Popcru secretary Matsemela Matsemela said.

He said national commissioner Riah Phiyega had seven days to act.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) was addressing the media on allegations that included sabotage to services, concealing or doctoring crime statistics, theft of drugs, irregular appointments, and sexual harassment.

Matsemela said Phiyega and Parliament's police portfolio committee were informed of the allegations on25 June, but had failed to act.

"Given the sensitivity of that institution and the nature of the allegations... after you received such allegations you ought to have acted," he said.

"Something is absolutely wrong there... They have the proof but they don't want to act."

Matsemela said the union had handed Phiyega a file of evidence on all their allegations and she had not responded. The union claimed its members who informed them of the allegations had been victimised through disciplinary hearings.

"These disciplinary hearings are formulated with the sole intention of creating [casting] doubt on the credibility of information provided by these members and also serve as a basis to hide corruption."

In April, the head of the laboratory made a presentation to the portfolio committee, in which he said there was a backlog of 182 cases. Matsemela however said the backlog was actually at 5 000, after all the cases were consolidated.

Matsemela said between 2008 and 2010, drugs with a street value of R500m were stolen from the laboratory.

Popcru wanted Phiyega to appoint a commission to investigate all the allegations, suspend the head of the division pending the outcome of the investigation, and provide whistle-blowers with protection.

"We expect nothing whatsoever from her, but to act on these serious corrupt activities," he said.

At a meeting in August Phiyega called on Popcru to declare "war on corruption and criminality" within the police.

Phiyega's office could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.


Read more on: popcru | police | riah phiyega

Lonmin crime scene could have been compromised
Wednesday 5 September 2012 17:21


DA says Marikana crime scene bungle is a result of years of no training.(SABC)

MarikanaNorth WestSAPSNPAAMCUNUMThe crime scene at the sight of the Lonmin shootings may have been compromised due to lack of detective skills in the South African Police Service.

A senior police official, who does not want to be identified has told a conference hosted by Parliament's Police Portfolio Committee he cannot give more information as the matter is too sensitive.

Thirty-four striking miners died and 78 were wounded in a confrontation with police on August 16. Democratic Alliance (DA) police spokesperson, Dianne Kohler- Barnard, says the Marikana crime scene bungle is a result of years of no training.

Kohler- Barnard says police picked up evidence with their hands, dumping them in piles. "What I saw was the rape of a crime scene, the evidence is now littered with how many fingerprints, that will be impossible to sift through. We saw, what I believe is the inevitable outcome of poor training - our labs must do the impossible job of sifting through all of that," the DA leader said.

This is the year of the detective within the SAPS. Stakeholders gathered to discuss the state of detective work. But discussions were quickly diverted to the Marikana shootings.

The DA used the case as an example of poor detective work. But the ANC did not want to discuss Marikana, as several investigations are still underway. SAPS say it has processes in place to preserve crime scenes.

A lack of sufficient training for detectives was the major concern at today's dialogue

SAPS Major General Charles Johnson refused to deal with the Marikana situation. Johnson says in general they have rules and measures in place to deal with major crime scenes.

He says the first responders will cordon off the crime scene, and protect the crime scene, and the only time they will go onto the crime scene, is to attend to injured people. Johnson however acknowledged that these rules are not always followed especially when inexperienced officers are at the scene first.

A lack of sufficient training for detectives was the major concern at today's dialogue. As were the heavy caseloads they carry.

Independent research shows it could be as high as 100 dockets at any given time. The chairperson of Parliament's Police committee, Annelize van Wyk, has lamented unreliable information around detective's numbers.

Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, declared 2012 the year of the detective. Police say the country ideally needs 26 000 detectives. Figures range from 20 000 to 23 000 detectives but Van Wyk says it's a waste of time and money.

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