Bad cops: 54 convicted murderers still on force

2014-07-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The ranks of the SA Police Service include 54 convicted murderers and 37 rapists.

Another 1 357 police officers had been convicted of attempted murder, culpable homicide, theft, corruption and other crimes.

Not a single one of these 1 448 police officers with criminal records has been dismissed from the service. Many are in senior posts — including a major- general, 10 brigadiers, 21 colonels and 10 majors. Most of these officers are deployed in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko gave this information yesterday to answer a parliamentary question by DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Nhleko said 1 064 police officers with criminal records had appeared in front of the police’s board of fitness and 1 017 will be dismissed.

In a case last month between police union Popcru, the police minister and the national police commissioner, the Labour Court, however, found the board of fitness is illegal, invalid and without legal authority.

The board stopped its hearings after this verdict.

Now Nhleko and national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega don’t know how to rid the police service of the officers who should never have been appointed.

National police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said the service is waiting on legal advice before deciding the next move.

Nhleko said on Monday in his budget speech new measures will be put in place to ensure that candidates with criminal records are not allowed into the police.

He said the police could not repair the sins of the past overnight.

Although the Police Act allows the automatic dismissal of a police officer who had been found guilty of a crime and sentenced without the option of a fine, the Labour Court determined, according to Makgale, that police must consider each of the 1 448 cases individually instead of using a board of fitness.

“If someone is convicted today, we can immediately dismiss them, but we cannot do so with crimes committed years ago.”

Kohler Barnard said the situation was bizarre and urged Nhleko and Phiyega to act urgently on the matter to put South Africans’ safety first.

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