KZN Law Society praise and criticise police

2008-10-09 00:00

The KwaZulu-Natal Law Society commended the police for the “speedy arrests” of suspects in the brutal murders of attorney Naren Sham and his family in Durban, but called for an investigation into the recent shooting by police of suspects wanted for the murder of a top KZN police officer.

In a statement issued yesterday, the president of the society, Thoba Poyo Dlwati, said the murders of Sham and his family and the deaths of six members of the Maphumulo Taxi Association who were suspects in connection with the murder of Superintendent Zethembe Chonco of Kranskop, and who were “alleged to have been shooting at the police”, brought into sharp focus the unacceptably high level of crime and violence in South Africa.

“While the SAPS is to be commended for the speedy arrests of those suspected of the Sham murders, the society notes, with regret, the subsequent deaths of the alleged suspects at the hands of the police in the course of their investigations, including the deaths of the members of the said taxi association.

“Such deaths give rise to a suspicion, rightly or wrongly, that in some instances there is a tendency on the part of the members of the SAPS to take the law into their own hands,” said Dlwati.

Responding to the statement yesterday, SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said it was “irresponsible” of the society to prejudge the findings of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), which is tasked to investigate all shooting incidents in which members of the SAPS are involved.

He confirmed that the ICD is currently investigating each of the fatal shootings in connection with Chonco’s murder in line with the normal requirement that all shootings by police, irrespective of whether anyone died, are investigated “in consultation with the ICD”.

He said police are required to follow the Criminal Procedure Act, which stipulates the use of firearms to be a “last resort” in effecting arrests.

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