Bishop apologises for cop remarks

2012-11-23 13:06

Rustenburg - The SA Council of Churches (SACC) president on Friday apologised for his remarks that police officers could not be trusted.

"I did not mean all police officers in SA are untrustworthy. If those [officers killed] were your members I would apologise about that," Bishop Johannes Seoka said during cross examination at the Farlam commission of inquiry in Rustenburg.

Advocate Louis Gumbi, representing the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), said Seoka's statement was "the biggest setback" in the fight against crime.

He said the widows of the two policeman killed at Marikana were in the public gallery and their husbands had been their breadwinners.


He gave Seoka statistics on the number of police officers slain since 2005.

"Don't you think the best [thing to do] is to retract that statement and apologise to those widows and children of those killed in the line of duty?" Gumbi asked him.

He was asked by advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the injured and arrested miners, what he thought about policing in South Africa and the changes made since 1994.

"A lot has changed with the police since 1994, but there are still elements of the old system and that is the problem," he replied.

Seoka narrated to the commission how a police officer investigating the killing of someone close to him later asked to "borrow" R15 000. The investigation of the matter had stalled.

"I could give many more examples," he said.

'Peaceful atmosphere'

Mpofu led Seoka in giving evidence on why he chose to become involved in the Marikana issue.

"Creating a peaceful atmosphere was all that I was concerned with," Seoka said.

He wanted to intervene in the unrest at the Gold Fields mine in Carletonville as well.

The three-member commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, was announced by President Jacob Zuma in August.

The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj. Its mandate is to probe the mine violence in which 44 people died during wage-related protests at Marikana, North West.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on 16 August and 78 wounded when police tried to disperse a group who had gathered on a hill near the mine. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed at the Lonmin platinum mine.

Zuma said the commission would complete its work within four months, and had to submit its final report a month later.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-23 13:19

    Yet another case of some "big wig" shooting his mouth off without thinking of the consequences of his utterence. There seems to be a lot of back tracking and apologising going down lately.

      willie.vanschoor - 2012-11-23 13:45

      Sh#T he's a fine one to talk about trust......I would hate to be a choir boy with Father Stiftimus standing behind me!

      mable.jacobs.90 - 2012-11-23 13:56

      I don't know what he's apologising for, cops can't be trusted.full stop

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-11-23 14:05

      The Bishop is bloody Right ! I would not for one minute stop for a cop ! They are thugs. Can you imagine getting pulled over, taken to the cop shop and getting raped ! The news cops of today cannot be trusted at all. In fact in most cases they are the villains.

      bob.spaps.1 - 2012-11-23 16:21

      @ sandra then with your logic all priests rape little boys ??

  • johan.vosloo.5 - 2012-11-23 13:23

    "A lot has changed with the police since 1994, but there are still elements of the old system and that is the problem," he replied. Ag komaan! Always the old system but never ever the "new system"!!

      altusvanzyl - 2012-11-23 13:43

      I agree, in fact there was little wrong with the old system. We had a world class police force..

      scarette1 - 2012-11-23 13:55

      The old police wasn't right, the new either. But I still believe they were treathent and they did the right thing. How must we respect a police force if the goverment don't trust them. After every shooting there must be an inquary. Sorry but skelms is skelms.

  • fnxusani - 2012-11-23 13:31

    Why apologise bishop? Its a fact we can't trust them instead the goverment must give every person a firearm and bulletproof vest and be police ourselves!

  • jerry.medina.756 - 2012-11-23 13:37

    Why apologies for what's real.

  • philip.buys.1 - 2012-11-23 13:38

    Like some policeman, some Bishops cannot be trusted either.

  • mart.botha - 2012-11-23 13:41

    Eish.....'élements of the old system' being the problem is I'm pretty sure totally without foundation. Since 1994 there has been a marked decline in the standards required to be passed 'functional'inb many of our country's service departments. This in 1994 was a reasonable expectation given that opportunities were to be given to a 'larger audience' as it were. Where this failed miserably was in a new culture of accepting mediocrity being born and just about anything and anyone was retained irrespective of their actual suitability and even preparedness to do the job. Witness this female pilot who was continuously failed by her instructors and the brass in Pretoria overroad their decisions and gave her her wings....and now she has bounced and written off an extremely expensive aircraft. It is illogical to continue putting this country at risk for the sake of a bit of window dressing. There are thousands in positions of responsibility and who are trying to perform functions that are clearly not a 'fit'That clever Dick, is where the problems start. for them

  • Barefoot - 2012-11-23 13:42

    i wouldn't want be member of his congregation that refers to people as elements of the old system isn't it the very bible that teaches forgiveness and being non-judgmental? oh worse he's president of the council of churches

  • denton.estment - 2012-11-23 13:48

    Bishop it is too late to apologise. You have cast the die now you must live with the fact that you who is supposed to be a respected man of the cloth have sinned against some good policemen and woman. I know many.

  • patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-11-23 13:49

    These self righteous religious idiots really give me a pain. Why don't they confine themselves to spewing outdated babble on Sundays?

  • scarette1 - 2012-11-23 13:49

    how does this country work? The goverment want us to trust the police, and when they shoot criminals there must be a commission????? Shoot the f...ers. Criminals have more rights than I have or the police!!!! Those guys were out for blood, killing policemen, security, they wanted blood. Well they got what they looked for. Sorry bishop but you were wrong.

  • lemogangbrian.monye - 2012-11-23 13:52

    Why does the bishop has to apologise to the cops when they know they can't be trusted just because the bishop is someone most people believe and trust he can't call a spade a spade no that is is time we learn to accept the truth and stop blackmailing(nonesense)

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-11-23 14:02

      He is a biased ignoramous like you who think that an organisation of more 175000 are the same not to be trusted. If you don't mind would you tell us about your squeeky clean character.

  • mark.klerk.7 - 2012-11-23 13:54

    Who the hell is this so called bishop anyway and what the hell does he have to do with anything. Seems to me like a nobody that wants to be a somebody and decided to climb onto the Marikana bandwagon

      schalkwbu31ger - 2012-11-23 14:03

      This guy is trying to get the same kind of limelight as old Tutu. Talk and don't know what it is to do a honest day's work. I also don't like a corrupt policeman or politician but don't blame everybody. I wonder what he would have done in a similar case.

  • Mike.ntsh2009 - 2012-11-23 13:57

    This bishop is not for real. For all his utterances and actions during strike he was more of an instigator than a peace-maker. He clearly took side of the miners so he could not be a non-partisan peace broker.

      edward.radingoana.1 - 2012-11-23 14:11

      I am asking myself same question on how did he really get the position of the presidency lying under oath like this. He sounds like just a lying street walker. If he now apologize where in his evidence should be applied. Lucky I am not a member of his church because I cant allow to be led by a lying Bishop.

  • willie.uys - 2012-11-23 14:01

    That is like saying "the other half of Parliament isn't donkeys" - quoting CJ Langenhoven. How he can even try to justify this is just too much. Does he trust every religious leader?

  • Chris - 2012-11-23 14:19

    I think he should think very carefully before he makes such statements about the police, with the numerous cases of child abuse and the paedophile culture in the various church structures.

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-11-23 14:21

    Hola, I have been censored again my democratic right to comment, N24's democratic right to remove.

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-11-23 14:22

    Sure a lot has changed since 1994, but certainly not for the better, as soon as someone is cornered they refer to apartheid, someone takes a life why did you kill him 'cos 'he used the K word' justice se' gut

  • Raymon - 2012-11-23 14:52

    He half right.

  • amotang - 2012-11-23 15:45

    Spiritual leaders must provoke unrest between government n people,they must bring peace not divide the nation,be a spiritual leader not a siting politician in disguise.

  • bob.spaps.1 - 2012-11-23 16:19

    @ mable you should join my party, with an attitude like that you must a moron

  • bob.spaps.1 - 2012-11-23 16:35


  • Willie Olivier - 2012-11-23 21:14

    mr Bishop, where were your church when so many Boer woman an children died in the concentration camps during the aglo/Boer war? Where are your church when 30,000 farmers and farm workers has been murdered since 1994? You and your church are bloody hypocrites!

  • schalk.w.visser - 2012-11-23 23:03

    As a man of the cloth he was lying?

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