Mountain Rise top cop accused of racism

2010-01-05 00:00

MOUNTAIN Rise acting branch commander Senior Superintendent Gopal Govender denies as baseless allegations that he is racist and gives preferential treatment to his subordinates.

Govender was responding to the allegations after The Witness received a statement from anonymous sources detailing the “harsh treatment” black officers endure under his management.

He took over the station after Director Peter Moloi, who was also acting commander, was injured in a motorcycle accident.

Moloi was brought in from the Free State Province to become caretaker of the station after its commissioner, Harirram Badul, was transferred to Durban and was later arrested for the disappearance of government property.

Moloi was injured in a motorbike accident late last year while on leave, and Senior Superintendent Govender was brought in.

In the statement, the sources allege that Govender is racist and he does not create a working environment that is conducive to all his staff.

The statement also alleges that the new acting commander has disbanded a unit that has been investigating and solving serious crimes, which include the murder of former Witness journalist Elaine Anderson in 2007.

“The unit has done tremendously well in dealing with serious crimes.

“Why do away with it now with no apparent reason? The only explanation for the move is because our boss is racist.

He doesn’t see black officers as having the ability to excel in their jobs,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

The source alleged that Govender “labels” his staff members and calls them derogatory names, and that members are victimised for speaking out about the treatment.

Govender would neither confirm nor deny that he had disbanded a unit at the station.

He said there was no truth in the allegations, and that there are faceless people whose aim is to misdirect the police when performing their duties.

“This station has been under surveillance because of criminal elements.

“How can I collude with criminal elements or even commit actions that work against the good of the station and the community?” Govender said.

Provincial police spokeswoman Director Phindile Radebe said her office will look at the allegations.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation at the station to ensure continued service delivery.”

Asked if Moloi is coming back, she said Govender was appointed in an acting capacity as branch commander.

“Govender was formerly stationed at the Pietermaritzburg offices when Moloi went on leave and subsequently got involved in an accident. This office reviewed the situation, hence we brought in Govender to act as station commander,” she said.

Radebe said she would have to get factual information about whether Moloi will return.

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