Crime: 1 000 suspects killed

2010-09-04 00:00

ABOUT 1 000 crime suspects were killed in KwaZulu-Natal between 2008 and last year and 13 police officers have been convicted in connection with the deaths.

Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) revealed the statistics to The Witness yesterday, a day after four police officers were arrested in Newcastle on Thursday for the death of a 38-year-old suspect.

ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said 300 suspects were killed in police custody, while 612 were killed as a result of police action, apparently in the course of arrest. He said 40 other cases against police officers are still in courts, while 12 others are waiting for Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision.

The Newcastle officers were arrested for the death on May 3 of Edward Thwala after he had been arrested over stolen property. He died at the Newcastle Provincial Hospital after sustaining serious injuries allegedly suffered when he was assaulted by two warrant officers.

The two officers were arrested with another warrant officer and a constable. The two officers have been charged with assault and defeating the ends of justice, and were released on warning in Newcastle Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The third officer and the constable, who were guarding cells, are facing culpable homicide.

“Had cell guards checked the cells every hours, which is a standing order, the deceased’s life would have been saved,” Dlamini said.

“In court there is no crime such as neglecting duty, which is why the DPP charged them with culpable homicide [alternatively] murder.”

Dlamini said Thwala was arrested on May 1. He vomited blood on the following day and was taken to hospital where he died on the third day.

The cell guards were each granted R1 000 bail, and all four will return to court on October 8.


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