Thousands of ‘tsotsi cops’ not dismissed

2013-03-26 14:50

Thousands of police officers have been criminally convicted but not dismissed from the SA Police Service, Parliament’s portfolio committee on police has heard.

The Institute of Security Studies’ governance, crime and justice division head Gareth Newham told the committee that South Africa could not rely on the criminal justice system to deal with the problem of “tsotsi cops”.

“There is evidence that the SAPS disciplinary system allows criminally violent officers to remain within the SAPS,” Newham said.

He cited the example of Warrant Officer Petrus Lefoka from Vaalwater, Limpopo, who was criminally convicted for severely assaulting a teenager and handed a suspended sentence of two months imprisonment, with the option of a R2 000 fine, suspended for five years.

Newham said an SAPS internal police disciplinary hearing fined Lefoka R500 and that he remains a cop despite a criminal conviction for brutality.

He said he was also concerned by the high number (792) of suspended dismissals.

Newham has suggested the establishment of a multi-disciplinary national police board to set objective standards for appointing and promoting police officers.

According to Newham, all police officers must be assessed against set criteria and should they fail to meet the standards they must be removed from positions of authority.

He said this should also apply to “starting at the top of the SAPS”.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa defended police earlier, saying the majority of cops were dedicated to their jobs.

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