Lock up corrupt cops, angry judge says

2012-02-24 22:30

Pretoria - Crooked policemen should be suspended without pay pending the outcome of their criminal trials, a judge said in Pretoria on Friday.

Judge Moses Mavundla said he found it mind-boggling that a police officer would risk his career for a paltry amount to help a criminal escape.

His remarks came after he was forced to postpone the trial of two convicted killers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

They were scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, but one of the two escaped from jail, allegedly with the help of a policeman.

The judge convicted Howard Sack and Christiaan Gray of Eersterust in November last year of murdering Neil Conrad Gouws in a 2009 drive-by shooting in Nellmapius, and postponed their trial for sentencing proceedings.

Their counsel, Piet Pistorius, told the court his attorney told him on Friday, shortly after he had consulted with Sack and Gray at prison, that Sack had escaped after apparently being assisted by a police officer who booked him out.

The policeman has since been arrested and is being detained.

Mavundla said the officer investigating the escape should be given instructions to oppose bail for the policeman.

"It is time that police officers know there will be no bail for them. It doesn't make sense... to have police officers who help criminals to escape and then get bail," he said.

"If we're going to have a disciplined police force and functionaries in all structures of government, mechanisms must be put in place that they [the policemen] must be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case."

He said the message should also go out to Sack that the longer he delayed, the more difficulty he was going to make for himself.

"For him to be running away won't solve any problems. It will just create more problems for him," the judge said.

"The law is something that cannot be stopped... Even if you escape or eliminate the judge, you can't stop the law because the wheels of justice keep on grinding."

  • Multi - 2012-02-24 22:38

    Finally someone with brains.

      Mikkel - 2012-02-24 22:41

      True story.

      Ian - 2012-02-25 00:22

      Nice idea, but not enough prisons!

      Sean - 2012-02-25 01:03

      Judge Mavundla all respect to you !! The rest of the government ???

      Max - 2012-02-25 04:42

      Watcher, I am not so sure about the brains because he said he found it mind-boggling that a police officer would risk his career for a paltry amount to help a criminal escape. Isn't it obvious that the police officer was not fit to be a police officer in the first place if he or she resorts to such crimes. It is rather mind-boggling that we keep on appointing criminal and illiterate people as police officers.

      Wes - 2012-02-25 08:36

      And while you about it lock up corrupt government officials,presidents,jelly babies,dying parolees etc etc etc

      brewster - 2012-02-25 09:10

      Max, the fact that the police officer is not fit to be a policeman is not of the judge's doing. That is a different matter all together albeit that there is a lot of merit in what you say in that regard. As for the judge's display of conviction, he has brains!

      Sharon - 2012-02-25 13:24

      if all the corrupt cops are locked up then we will no longer have a police force

      Christopher - 2012-02-25 14:15

      That would be great in practice. Can you mention this to all your practising judges, as they do not really listen to the man on the street!

  • Rudi - 2012-02-24 22:45

    I dont uderstand this! Is this not what we should be expecting from a judge?

      Christopher - 2012-02-25 14:17

      Exactly...they the ones that can oppose bail etc...??? So they must do it!!

  • AyGeewils - 2012-02-24 22:47

    It is a sad day when those who are sworn to protect are amoungst the top criminals in the land! The entire system is rotten and should be replaced!

      Fanie - 2012-02-25 07:36


  • Gerald - 2012-02-24 22:54

    I agree, common sense dictates you withhold pay until the outcome of the inquiry...if they are vindicated you reimburse them with interest

      frank.carr.182 - 2012-11-17 09:08

      I agree,all alledged criminals in govt should be suspended without pay. we have cases of people taking 5 years to be tried still on full pay,and that is not your ordinary person,some of these people earn hundreds of thousands.

  • alansmartSnr - 2012-02-24 22:59

    I am realy impressed with the "mechanisms must be put in place that they [the policemen] must be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case." Lets hope this causes a precedent cos law and consequences are based on precedents..but only in High courts. It might just flow down to the local courts. Please ANC..take note of this judgement.

      Leonard Tsolo - 2013-10-02 21:16

      Innocent until proven otherwise.The method will cost taxpayers a fortune, because once found not guilty, our money will be used to compensate financial losses and interests accumulated along the pending matter.

  • Cracker - 2012-02-24 23:16

    "Even if you escape or eliminate the judge, you can't stop the law because the wheels of justice keep on grinding." ELIMINATE the judge? Chilling words and perhaps very realistic. It is nonsense that court cases and disciplinary proceedings must take so long. You can't just keep people in jail awaiting their day in court because you will also unjustly punish the innocent. Once again we experience the consequences of ANC ineptitude. Our whole legal system - including the forensics part of it - needs to be revamped. Why for example has the trial of Arthur J Brown not yet started and been finalized? What is it with the lethargy in our legal and also about all other systems in this country? And trying to fix the nonsense now seems to require taking away liberty of citizens. The justice system must also stop the nonsense of allowing lawyers to recuse themselves as they please and to regulate the duration of matters as per their availability. An accused is not guaranteed the best legal brains in the business. If a particular lawyer is not available then bad luck. You make do with what is available. One can carry on with the subject but we need an urgent revamp or our legal processes. Not taking rights and freedoms away but getting rid of incompetency and loopholes for plain criminals to abuse the system. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO LAWYERS OF YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE SPEEDY WORKING OF THE SYSTEM. YOU TAKE WHAT IS AVAILABLE AND THE MATTER PROCEEDS SPEEDILY.

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-25 07:45

      Exactly, Cracker. One way of turning a simple matter into a complicated one, is to postpone dealing with it. These delays and postponements are costing our country dearly. The same goes for disciplinary matters. People suspended (with pay)for ages.

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-02-24 23:33

    Cool story bro.

  • Bokfan - 2012-02-24 23:55

    This is why the criminal anc should not be allowed to control the judiciary. Big ups to the judge. He is fighting for our freedom.

      Mattheus - 2012-02-25 02:02

      Poor guy is probably gonna get sacked !

  • Marion - 2012-02-25 00:07

    Respect to this judge. Now when you do get to sentence him judge, please make sure that all his sentences run consecutively and not concurrently. Mooi asseblief.

  • Pieter Janse van Rensburg - 2012-02-25 00:21

    I love this judge!!!

  • Tony - 2012-02-25 00:24

    I thought that it would be the norm in any country once you commit a crime you throw your rights out and you don't get paid . why do all this jargin when any child can see the way out is right in front of all of us this is only helping the crimanils in all levels of society . the judicary must be totaly independant of goverment and they should be given some tool to scare the people who otherwise would not committe a crime if not the death penalty then hard labour . otherwise the law is wasting time and the innocent are being murdered,raped and abused by the police and the thugs . wake up everybody get off your brains and get the goverment to stop mendalling in the JUSTICE "SYSTEM" to protect their dishonest comrades that are behind a high number of the crime in this country.

  • heinrich.crouse - 2012-02-25 03:01

    Alternate headline: "SA judge makes blindingly obvious connection between crime and punishment."

  • Rip - 2012-02-25 03:20

    But why target crooked cops? Anybody crooked in Government employ should be suspended without pay pending the outcome of their criminal trial.

      Adam - 2012-02-25 05:20

      because only the opposition parties will be left.

  • Roy - 2012-02-25 05:48

    Judge Mavundla what you say is very true. No corrupt SAPS,Traffic Officers or Government employee should be shown any leniency if they are caught. No salary,no bail and they should be jailed.

      Wally - 2012-02-25 11:32

      @ EagleEye: I have no problem with your statement, except to say, the same should apply to the private sector. Involved in corruption, your salary and benefits, or proceeds from your company goes to the fiscus with immediate effect. If convicted, your estate or company or trust is penalised as well. Makes it fair. It will not happen, but just understand that where there is corruption there is inevitably a member NOT in Govt employ that either ilicit a "favour" or being ilicited into paying for a "favour". The higher the rank in Govt Employ, the larger the bribe - speak to those in the know. Where crime is the name, huge amounts of money are the game. Point is, no matter your employ, if corrupt and involved in org's crime, you pay the price BIG TIME.

  • Kevin - 2012-02-25 06:49

    Promote this judge

  • Larry - 2012-02-25 06:52

    Way to go Judge. About time someone talked some sense.

  • Kgosi King Meruti - 2012-02-25 06:58

    Its been long overdue! Nowadays you cant tell the difference between Cops & thugs!

      SJ - 2012-02-25 14:05

      ...or politicians and thugs for that matter.

  • Johan - 2012-02-25 07:02

    All government officials suspended for some transgression should be suspended without pay. At last a judge saying the right thing!

  • Morne - 2012-02-25 07:30

    Is news 24 stuck? Last update i received was 22h30 on the 24th February. Can anyone let me know please.

  • Fanie - 2012-02-25 07:33

    If all judges and magistrates started thinking this way and do this with the support of government the police will start to do their work properly and then criminals would think twice before doing the crime. they have my support and the i think most of the countries support.

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-25 07:50

      Quite, Fanie. Often the hard work of the police is negated by the ineptitude and sometimes injustice, of the justice system and government. This must be very demoralizing and demotivating for the police.

      Wally - 2012-02-25 11:37

      Fanie, I agree, plz read my comment posted just 2 spaces above yours and it may give you some insight wrt the problems experienced within the Lower Courts. The Magistrates are bound by decisions from the High Courts, and such decisions influence the future decisions taken in the Lower Courts. Magistrates are frustrated by the ever-interfering High Court Judges in their decisions, with respect to these institutions. The public isn't always literate in these aspects and blame is not apportioned where it belongs. However, if we may have more Judges with the courage to not only speak but also do, and allow to be done, we may see some justice. Law isn't always fair.

  • Sariena - 2012-02-25 07:38

    Thumbs up for the judge.Give the man a Bells.

  • Don - 2012-02-25 08:03

    Thank you to Judge Mvundla, May their sentences carry a harsh penalty but those that blow the whistle on these corrupt police be protected in the prisons or they are bound to suffer for doing so and thaat will also be a sad day.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-25 08:05

    Our Government is supposed to lead us. Our police is supposed to protect us. Both are supposed to serve us. If any of them act against our interest, it is a matter of augmented gravity, calling for augmented justice. Such individuals should be suspended without pay forthwith, and the matter taken to court and finalized within three months, or whatever realistic time frame is determined. (There MUST be a set time limit). (Look at this case of that ANC guy who is said to have stolen millions from the people - Block, I think his name is - case going on for YEARS! If they can't get all the facts in a month or two, they will NEVER get it all!) Should a person then be found to be guilty, he/she should be fired forthwith and all benefits like medical aid, pension fund etc. should be terminated. This should be a stipulation in the labour contract when a government official or armed forces member is employed.

  • Blue - 2012-02-25 08:08

    Our once proud South African Police Force is a corrupt hole of dissaray. Our policeman are fat and lazy with only one thing on their minds..."how can I make my next fast buck". They come out of police college with a bloody attitude to none and then treat plain civilians as if they are doing us a favour to listen to our requests and complaints. A large number of them cannot read and write in english properly and these are the ones manning our police stations. I for one am SICK AND BLOODY TIRED of hearing about the misconduct within the force...a force which once upon a time was the pride and joy of South Africa...(No, I am NOT saying I am proud of some of the things that they did in apartheid years...those were crimes that no-one human being should have witnessed and or even experienced in their lives)...I am talking about the discipline, and utter respect which were the foundation stones of the force in those years. One could lay a charge or report an incident and KNOW that your case is receiving the attention it deserves. I never even heard of case dockets we just turn our heads the other way, become indifferent to those who are hurting around us and have learnt that the one and only reason why we report anything these so that we can get our Case Number for Insurance purposes!! The minister should maybe lighten up those dark glasses of his and start LOOKING at his see what we see - maybe then he might DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!

  • TSEPOD - 2012-02-25 08:10


  • Helmut - 2012-02-25 09:26

    He is my man

  • John - 2012-02-25 10:49

    The police officer should be detained in prison in lieu of the escapee until such time as he is recaptured.

  • Wally - 2012-02-25 11:21

    I cannot agree more with you, Judge Mavundla. Now, plz get this message through to your colleagues to stop interfering with the Lower Courts when bail is in fact denied to alleged corrupt cops, and worse where threats were allegedly issued to the complainant. Oh, that is just one instance I refer to. There are plenty more. It is not an attack, but an urgent plea that the High Court Judges stop interfering in the bail and sentence decisions of the Lower Courts for really no reason at all. We live in a country battling crime and the Courts just cannot cope with the numbers any longer. By not allowing the Lower Courts to operate as strict as possible, after having considered the facts, an unbalanced criminal justice system has become the norm with the public loosing faith in the one institution that has to deal with the bulk of justice service delivery daily in this country. Keep him in custody. That is where he belongs - provided there is a noticeable link between him and the offence. And if convicted - off to prison and no lollipops for good behaviour! Same for policemen intimidating and even raping women - yes, in uniform and yes, using official vehicles! You are there to protect, not to be the force we as public have to war against. Criminals and an over-emphasized and imbalanced focus on human rights are enough to contend with as is.

      Cracker - 2012-02-25 11:24

      @ Wally NO! Higher courts are there for a very good reason. You obviously has not yet been the victim of an injustice in a lower court.

      Cracker - 2012-02-25 11:25

      you obviously HAVE not

      Wally - 2012-02-25 11:48

      @ Cracker: There are injustices and then some. Depends on the injustice you are referring to. I agree with you. We have High Courts and the Appeal Court for a very good reason. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may appeal. There are injustices, as you call them, happening in the High Courts too, they just deal with so much less of the criminal matters that we as public do not learn about it. Their blunders are dealt with by either a Full Bench of that division or the Appeal Court. At times the Lower Courts have to wait a while for such a "mistake" or "absurdity" to be corrected. Those are ascribed to either a misinterpretation, human error in judgement or you may have a malicious person. It does NOT imply that all judicial officers are malicious or inept to perform their functions. I did not say the HC's are to be abolished! I refer specifically to the issue of bail and sentence and in the fold of what the Judge said. It also does not mean that once someone got joy in a High Court that justice necessarily was properly dispensed with. Different judicial officer with a different interpretation or view; some trivial technicalities have seen whole trials being set aside. Fair? You decide. There are glaring injustices that HAVE to be corrected, no prob there.

      Cracker - 2012-02-25 12:13

      @ Wally We need a system in which lower courts of all descriptions, especially their decisions affecting our freedoms, are subject to judicial review in its various forms. We will never have perfection but we cannot take the risk of excluding the supervision over lower courts just because WE think our views are the correct ones and will always be supported by the lower courts. Rather extend the judicial supervision.

  • billidp - 2012-02-25 11:34

    At last! At last someone with some clout has the balls to say what the public has been saying for ages!Crooked cops should be treated like any other criminal!

  • Cracker - 2012-02-25 11:46

    The solution is not harsher sentences and denial of bail simply for the sake of such. We would be sacrificing our freedoms on the altar of expediency/bad management by bad managers. For what? So the useless can continue as they please with their ineptitude? We need a system with a quick and efficient process. No locking away of persons or leaving them on salaries while their cases drag on for years. What is the use of heavier sentences if many walk out scot free because of system deficiencies? You can’t just assume someone is guilty because a charge or complaint has been laid. It is so easy to implicate someone and harm them forever. Say you can’t pay your accounts and, for example, neglect your insurance policies for a couple of months just because you were falsely implicated. You wouldn’t like to be put through so why wish it on others? The solution lies in a quick and effective process to finalize allegations and complaints. It is inexplicable that technology is not used to record the interactions between law officers and the public. Eliminate as much as possible false accusations and so also protect the public. Let there later be as little doubt as possible about what was observed, said, and done. Eliminate much of the argument in courts about the admissibility of pointing outs, admissions and confessions. What is it that makes it so difficult to create an efficient and trustworthy legal system?

  • ReunionofIntelligentMinds - 2012-02-25 11:52

    If the corrupt police officials are to be locked up then I foresee a huge problem, there won't be much police left. Its time to call up all willing civilian men and women to train them appropiately and let them enforce CORRECT law and order.

  • SJ - 2012-02-25 14:04

    Also do the same with judges who do not place their oath of office into the record or do not act strictly under that oath of office.

  • Buti - 2012-02-25 14:27

    PLEASE, JUDGE contest to be a New President of South Africa for the coming election. We really need you.

  • Glyn - 2012-02-25 21:45

    Viva le juge!

  • Glyn - 2012-02-25 21:48

    This judge is a JUDGE!

  • RULANIRC - 2012-02-26 08:28


  • schrickker - 2012-02-26 09:23

    It is how the system is managed that alowes for a lot of this to happen.Why do we employ more and more police when the lot we got is not proply trained and payed.

  • izak.labuschagne - 2012-02-26 15:06

    Great Judge Moses Mavundla. Now lets move on to corrupt politicians. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

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