SA needs better detective work - Mthethwa

2010-11-23 14:34

Johannesburg - The fight against crime needs to be beefed up with better detective work, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

"We are slack when it comes to the capacity of detectives... you have a low conviction rate if you don't have thorough detection work," he told the central executive committee of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Johannesburg.

"We need to strengthen that area," said Mthethwa.

He was briefing Cosatu on how the government planned to step up the fight against crime, saying strategic partnerships and community involvement were key elements.

Fighting crime 'toughly and smartly'

An important "pillar" in the government's crime stopping campaign was to send out the message that it was fighting crime "toughly and smartly".

This was "so that we deal with the perception that this government is soft on criminals", said Mthethwa.

The justice department was in the process of reviewing the policy on repeat offenders, who should be dealt with more harshly, said Mthethwa.

He said the Hawks had drawn up a list of the 50 most wanted and dangerous criminals in the country and claimed that most of them had already been arrested.

"The last time I checked, about 46 were already nabbed," said the minister.

The Hawks were also strengthening the "fight against corruption, including cyber crimes," he said.

Journalists, who were invited to the event, were asked to leave the room before Mthethwa finished his speech.

In his introduction, Mthethwa jokingly referred to "threats" that had been made between Cosatu and the government recently, saying: "We need peaceful threats".

Before him, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant addressed the meeting, but journalists were also asked to leave after she made her introductory remarks, which included that the government and Cosatu should work together.

Labour brokers

She said she hoped the government would come up with proposals on how to deal with labour brokers.

"We will report to you," said Oliphant.

Also, Cosatu needed to take part when the government drafted legislation dealing with workers.

"That participation hasn't happened... whatever legislation the government is tabling, you must participate as workers," said Oliphant.

Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane, was scheduled to address the meeting but this was cancelled at the last minute.

  • copy.exe - 2010-11-23 14:45

    Would be interesting to know the reason behind asking journalists to leave.

  • Spyker May - 2010-11-23 14:49

    Sure sir - the last time I checked, about 47 of them escaped again...

  • Zoolie - 2010-11-23 14:53

    So by letting the media out of the conference, you are just telling the media what you want the citizens need to hear, infact you are just telling the tax payers your monies are not going to work as you have no sense of responsibility to let us know the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God. You may as well not have had this meeting if that is the attitude you have.

      Sizwe - 2010-11-23 21:23

      Thats solely based on the perception that the media is free and fair, and they have no bias against the government. They are merely taking steps to protect their integrity, that is fairly reasonable in any society.

  • GV - 2010-11-23 15:08

    Why call a press conference if journos are asked to leave. STRANGE If detectives were properly trained and had the relevant experience, there would be nothing wrong with the quality of their work.

      flummery - 2010-11-23 18:37

      i do believe he was briefing cosatu and not holding a press conference... as far as i can see. would be interesting to of been a fly on the wall after journos were asked to leave though

  • Chomp - 2010-11-23 15:10

    how can police function without DNA being taken at each crime scene!! we dont even have legislation in place to deal with proper DNA analasys and data base!! crazy stuff! they dont even take dna at some very serious crime scenes, even those few cases take months to wrap up. its been proven that the first 48 hours are the most important part in any investigation.. what does our police do on avarage within the first 48??

      Sizwe - 2010-11-23 21:26

      Too much CSI, too little reasoning!!

      gmck21 - 2010-11-24 09:34

      SIZWE clearly thinks our police are capable! WHY arent all the MUBI's in prison recorded onto one huge DNA data-base, sure they have finally started doing this but its too little too late. Why are our police using paper docketts and not using electronic ones i.e) ama-computer machine? then police would have to log in to access docketts and a trail would be left so as to stop them dissapearing?? I have personally gone to a station to repora crime to meet an empty office. TWO extremely drunk/goofed "INSPECTORS" then told me "COME BACK WHEN YOU ARE SOBER WHITE BOY" funny thing was i hadnt been drinking. KLOOF police station then helped and i am extremely grateful to them.

  • Chomp - 2010-11-23 15:10

    how can police function without DNA being taken at each crime scene!! we dont even have legislation in place to deal with proper DNA analasys and data base!! crazy stuff! they dont even take dna at some very serious crime scenes, even those few cases take months to wrap up. its been proven that the first 48 hours are the most important part in any investigation.. what does our police do on avarage within the first 48??

      Janaman - 2010-11-24 14:48

      Discuss their babalas! probably some nose picking as well... when my house got robbed the policemen if you can call them that came in as casual as can be and i could smell the booze on their breath!!! they didn't take fingerprints or the pliers left by the robbers (i think we call that hard evidence)!!! i mean cumon! F***ing joke they are!

  • MrSpiderman - 2010-11-23 15:11

    Guess who watched NCIS?????? Corruption starts in Government and I saw no-one "nabbed"! Midlred, why did the Press have to leave? Something to hide or you don't agree? Collines, you did not even to bother to pitch up for the meeting? Probably to busy at Autobahn!

  • croix - 2010-11-23 15:27

    Yes, indeed you needed to "strengthen that" - 10 bloody years too late after (how many?) thousands died under your (ANC) watch! You should've swept aside your 'racist tendencies' in driving out all the excellent detectives (mostly white). They could have made such a HUUUUUGE difference in this country's fight against crime for the last 16 years. And they would have helped train the new recruits in the field and on the job. It's been said before: "A good policeman is not born - he must gain the experience on the job" (and it takes a good couple of years!) All we ask is that you effectively fight crime, and stop saying "we've got to improve this/ we've got to strengthen that/blah,blah,etc.etc!"

      Diale - 2010-11-23 16:24

      The police management needs to be retrained if ever they received any training. Mostly are corrupt and take bribes, surround themselves with yes men/ ladies so as to protect their positions. Most of the police are unable to take logical statements. Thus a few good police are surounded by lazy ones and they end up being swamped thereby. Crime scene protection and Evidence collection is very important and yet these are neglected. Leads are not followed. We have a high rate of legal students without work out there, how about they be absorbed as detectives and see where this could take us in the fight against crime and up convictions as a result. We do not have to look at other countries but come with our own interventions. The SAPS/ Prosecutors and Traffic departments should work towards a common goal and not against each other. Hardened criminals/ repeat offenders should be kept in an isolated prison for they are corrupting the Correctional system and also 1st time offenders. There are thos prisiners/ criminals that refuse to cmend their ways and like former commisioner of police Mr Sithole once said, they should be thrown down unused mine shafts, you cannot rehabilitate these. Besides they cost us tax payers and when they come out of jail having paid their dues, what do we do, scorn them instead of using them to sweep the streets for a salary/ food coupon.

      Sizwe - 2010-11-23 21:37

      @Croix, Whites voluntarily left Government as they are voluntarily leaving the country, the basis of saying the best detectives are whites is not fact but your assumption (I wonder what fuels that?), there have been black officers and detectives all through SAP/S history check your facts. On the issue of training you clearly no nothing about the police, if you did you would know there are specialised training centres around the country for various divisions and courses. The challenge experienced has more to do with funding, and an apathetic citizenry when it comes to choosing a career in the civil services. plz check your facts before you spew your diatribe... @Diale, I personally know a number of senior officers and they all have multiple degrees and have received countless in-house training courses by the SAPS itself, there assertion of being incompetent is misplaced. Crime is not just a policing matter, there is enough scientific literature to back that up, just READ!

      Janaman - 2010-11-24 14:51

      Sizwe STFU!

  • Sadness - 2010-11-23 16:01

    This is generally good news. Should we be able to convert that into real improvement we will definitely have to also put strategies in place to cope with work load on the judicial and prison services. All in all a move in the right direction. As we say, better late than never.

  • ArtGee - 2010-11-23 16:05

    Should the Police Dept BEEF UP the dective side of things.... alot more POLICEMAN WILL be arrested! Police are alot MORE corrupt than the common criminal! They have Uniforms to hide behind!

  • Banned - 2010-11-23 16:06

    They need to raise the education requirements to become a detective, at least a 3 college diploma. It can be done by correspondence, they certainly seem to have enough free time on their hands

      brinkcr - 2010-11-23 17:12

      I am a retired senior Police officer with about 30 years detective experience. A while ago I have offered to assist our local Regional Head-office with my expertise and knowledge, free of charge, but after 6 months of trying to get any report-back,I have now "filed my case" and would keep it all to myself.

  • gg.gugus - 2010-11-23 16:17

    It is too Bad for The Country, you allow foreign criminlas inside with illequipped personels,For me one Guy(Detective) told me my case is difficult and he phone the criminal and the criminals denied to be the one, and he told me to try the next police stations.

  • MACKAROONEY - 2010-11-23 16:36

    hey ,no shit sherlock ,except okes like me that would've had 26 years experience are now all gone , and your apla/fapla/mkonto cops wont be able to trace a toy in a cereal wont work like we did 24/7 until we had our man.

  • gmck21 - 2010-11-23 16:40


  • Superdude - 2010-11-23 16:43

    All good and well saying what we ;need' you are the police head honcho - do something about it! It irks me how when a foreigner dies in this country - great urgency is shown in catching the killers, but when a local is murdered - forget it, join the scrapheap!

  • Organist-1 - 2010-11-23 17:04

    The ANC kicked all the highly experienced and qualifies whites out of the police, so now they bemoan the fact that they need better "detective work" Pleeeeeze, comon. who are they fooling. They admit in a survey that out of 10,000 cops, 6,000 have a criminal record , so why is this minister moaning? Shooting yourself in the foot has never solved any problems.

  • Boerseun - 2010-11-23 17:08

    Fart against the wind is what the minister is doing, unless he decides to let all the white ex-cops come back and do the work. They can then also try to train some of the new ones.

      emile.marais - 2010-11-23 20:29

      Noble idea but the problem is is that they are white. Allowing that would seriously bruise the ANC's ego which is a big no-no.

  • James - 2010-11-23 18:18

    Training will definately make a difference in this regard. A lot of our police officers are just but tertiary rejects hence they opt for the police. The department or government must start investing the training of the police force to properly deal with crime and speed up investigation that will indirectly minimize the courts workload as well as the correctional services. We need graduates to join the police force but salaries etc must motivate these youngsters to join it without getting temptate into bribes due to poor wages/salaries offered.

      flummery - 2010-11-23 18:39


  • Rory - 2010-11-23 19:09

    You daft sh8t you forced all the top white detectives out, that includes forensics. A large part of the police would not even make it into Botswana's or Zimbabwe's police forces yet alone any first world police force. How many police office have been accused of corruption, murder or rape.

      Sizwe - 2010-11-23 21:41

      They voluntarily left when having to treat equally qualified black officers as peers and in some cases had to be headed by a competent black boss, so don't point at the force that allowed them to leave ask yourself what is it they were running away from...

      gmck21 - 2010-11-24 09:03

      SIZWE you are f@#king cluesless mate. WHITES in the police force have been told they will never be promoted. SO WHY STAY?? its the same in the parksboard. it has nothing to with treating blacks as equals you stupid stupid individual. Why would one stay and help a bunch of untrained unmotivated people, KNOWING you would nevber be promoted due to colour. EISH BUT WE KANNOT BE RASISTS, IS NOT ME

      AJ - 2010-11-24 13:42

      @Sizwe, when you have been told your skin counts against you and you work for an incompetent person, then equality has pretty much gone out the window.

  • Koosie - 2010-11-24 11:52

    The comments here show a lot of negetivity and anger.If you guys are so unhappy in this country,why not do the most convenient and right thing.Leave for Australia.

      Cyberman - 2011-01-28 10:03

      We love our country Gert - the anger and negativity is directed at the idiots who are running it who seem determined to do nothing to help fix it. Having lived in the UK, Spain, Netherlands and the USA I can tell you that the grass ain't greener on the other side. Every country has its issues and I've yet to come across anyone living anywhere that is 100% satified with how their country is run.

  • Pothole - 2010-11-24 13:05

    And so every now and then one or other minister make an impossible to achieve statement and then go back ino hibernaion zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      Cyberman - 2011-01-28 10:04

      Great comment and so true!

  • carinx - 2010-11-24 13:26

    what motivation is there for police/detectives to produce outstanding evidence when the accused are let off after only a short sentence. I know a number of police officers and detectives who all told me that they need to search for the same perpetrators over and over and over again. I think most of them drag themselves through each day, just to see their results back on the streets again. There must be stronger sentences to complement the investigations.

  • AJ - 2010-11-24 13:39

    I am not an expert on detective work by any stretch, but could I suggest taking fingerprints within like 3 weeks of the crime as opposed to the usual...

  • Cyberman - 2011-01-28 09:58

    Real pearls of wisdom from our Police Minister for those of us long suffering South Africans who actually thought that we DIDN'T need better detectives to help us with our crime epidemic. Our MPs get 10 out of 10 for always stating the bleeding obvious and then 10 out of 10 for then doing f-all about it!!!!!!!!

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