Moerane Commission: Focus on police competency

2018-02-21 18:59
The Moerane Commission sitting in Durban. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

The Moerane Commission sitting in Durban. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban – The Moerane Commission delved into the details of police competency as its probe into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal heated up.

A panel of national and provincial police have been testifying at the commission in Durban, which is investigating the high rate of political killings in the province.

Commissioners and evidence leader, advocate Bheki Manyathi, requested details on several facets of policing, ranging from the slow rate of medical reports to the analysis of the success of cases in court.

Answering most of the questions were national police officers Major General Pitso Ramatsoele and Major General Hendrik Chauke.

Earlier in the day, both officers defended methods used to train officers.

The commission acknowledged that police had several challenges, but questioned the slow turnaround time for medical reports.

Ramatsoele conceded that this was a problem, but said the police could not control the process.

"As you know, most of those tests, more especially histology and toxicology, go through the services of the Department of Health. It is difficult for me to comment on that. The Department of Health will have to say what is happening there."

Ministerial intervention

Commissioner Marumo Moerane suggested that the police and health ministry intervene at a high level.

"The public will be looking in and saying: 'Why is it so difficult for both public departments to work well together?' It perhaps needs ministerial intervention."

Commissioner Cheryl Potgieter asked why there were several cases in the public sphere where private investigators had to be used.

"Why is it that we find, more especially in high-profile public cases, that private investigators have to be used? We have trained officers. Can you tell us how often this happens?"

In his response, Chauke said that investigators were not always hired.

"I do not deny you get private investigators, but I am not aware of the scale. It is difficult to tell, but it does not always happen."

The Moerane Commission will host the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday and Friday.

The commission was in established October 2016 by Premier Willis Mchunu, amid a high number of political killings in the province. Chaired by Moerane, the commission is investigating killings in the province since 2011.

The commission continues.

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