Rhino poaching: Police committee says police near national parks should be vetted

2018-04-24 21:45
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The Portfolio Committee on Police has called for lifestyle audits and the vetting of all police officers near national parks.

This, after the committee expressed concern over the arrest of a police officer, along with nine other accused, on rhino poaching allegations.

News24 reported on Monday that there were 12 suspects and that two were killed during a shootout in the Kruger National Park.

Read more here: Two killed, cop among 10 arrested, in Kruger rhino poacher shootout

In a statement released on Tuesday, the committee welcomed the arrests over the past five days.

These arrests highlighted the work accomplished by stakeholders dealing with rhino poaching, the committee said.

"The committee is, however, concerned that, among those arrested, is a police officer based [at] Skukuza police station. This points to the presence of corrupt elements among the police, which undermines the rule of law they are mandated to uphold," committee chairperson Francois Beukman said.

The committee also noted comments by Premier Soccer League chairperson Irvin Khoza, that an inadequate number of police officials were deployed to the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where violence erupted after Kaizer Chiefs lost against Free State Stars on Saturday evening.

Beukman highlighted that it was a concern if it was true because the police had a critical role to play as per the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act. 

The committee noted the acting provincial police commissioner's announcement of an investigation into the matter.

"This investigation must be expedited to ensure that any shortcomings are addressed as a matter of urgency," Beukman emphasised. 

The committee stated that the use of violence to highlight unhappiness remained a worrying trend in the country and required societal introspection, as vandalism of infrastructure did not resolve anything.

The committee also noted the spread of protests in Taung, Delareyville and Vryburg in the North West and maintained its call for the community to hold peaceful protests. 

"Peaceful protest is protected by the Constitution, but these rights bestow the responsibility of order and peace on protesters," Beukman said. 

The committee called on the police to continue its work of ensuring peace and stability in the area and emphasised maximum restraint in dealing with protesters.

Read more on:    poaching

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