No place for tsotsi cops, minister insists

2012-02-16 22:47

Johannesburg - Police stepping out of line would be harshly punished, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday.

"We have emphasised the point that there is no place for tsotsi-cops in the service," Mthethwa said in a statement.

He said he had demanded answers from police management after a Soweto teenager was apparently shot and killed by a 41-year-old student policeman on Tuesday evening.

"Police officers who abuse their powers, harassing and murdering innocent people in this day and age, are not deserving to be called police officers and must therefore face the full might of the law."

Mthethwa wanted a speedy, yet thorough, investigation into 16-year-old Thato Mokoka's death. He was a Grade 9 pupil at Kgatelopele Secondary School.

Mthethwa instructed the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to thoroughly investigate the case and ensure fairness and objectivity.

"We are taking this approach because we want to ensure we do not prejudice or prejudge any person unjustifiably."

He also instructed the ICD to provide a comprehensive report on the events that transpired on the night of the shooting.

"If indeed the police officer who is currently a suspect, is found to have abused his powers I would expect serious and harsh steps taken against the officer."

Mthethwa extended his condolences to the Mokoka family.

"On behalf of the police leadership, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family. We shall ensure that the matter is thoroughly investigated."

ICD spokespersonMoses Dlamini said no one had been arrested for the killing.

"The investigation is still underway. You don't just arrest because of allegations. We must first establish that that was the case."

He said Mokoka was shot outside the home of his grandmother Sybil Mokoka in Bramfisherville Phase Two.

"He was shot three times. Once in the back, once in the forehead, and once in the stomach."

A post mortem would be done by Friday.

Full extent of the law

Brigadier Neville Malila said in a statement that Dobsonville police received information on Tuesday about a group of youths, alleged to be members of a gang, who were terrorising school children in the area.

They were in a room in the back yard of a Braamfisherville house with a gun.

"Members reacted on the information and searched the identified shack. One of the youths found in the shack went outside and shots were heard."

Mokoka was found dead outside.

According to reports on Thursday, Mokoka was lying on his stomach with his hands above his head when the policeman allegedly fired.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Kate Lorimer MP said the policeman behind the shooting had to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In a statement, she said a number of questions should be answered in the investigation into the incident.

"Did the police have a warrant to search the property where a minor lived? If not, on what evidence did they conduct a search?

"Why did the police members allegedly assault the two girls who were with Thato in his room? Why was Thato shot in the back while lying down? What are the rights of a minor in such circumstances?" Lorimer asked.

Inkatha Freedom Party spokesperson Velaphi Ndlovu said the murder was one in a chain of events that indicated South Africa was sliding into a "police state".

"It is clear that the police used excessive force and that an innocent, unarmed boy was brutally murdered at the hands of the very people who are entrusted with the safety of ordinary South Africans."

He said he would raise questions about the killing in Parliament.

Dlamini said all reports at this stage were speculative and that the ICD would issue a statement on the details and any arrests.

The ICD's senior management, including executive director Francois Beukman, would visit the teenager's family on Friday.

  • Irene - 2012-02-16 23:16

    But 95% of the police force are tsotsies! Think Selebi, think Cele and they/were are at the top of the food chain. Just think how bad it must be lower down.

      procold2 - 2012-02-17 08:19

      cant trust them irene.

  • Sharon - 2012-02-17 06:12

    Why is the policeman still on duty then?? It was reported on enews this morning. Its all about action, Mr Mthethwa, words are useless.

  • Zion - 2012-02-17 06:47

    Selebi said the same, Cele said the same and so are all the follow-ups and ultimately those jabbering, all succumb to crime. Will need a special prison for cops and commandants.

  • anthro45 - 2012-02-17 06:52

    Says tsotsi Nathi Mthethwa

  • John - 2012-02-17 08:32

    Utter trash. 1. Since when is someone only arrested for murder after the investigation is completed. You or I would be arrested on the spot. He should have been arrested on the spot, thrown in jail and have to apply for bail like the rest of society.. 2. Since when does the minister of Police advise the ICD. Does he not understand the meaning of "Independent".

  • Andre - 2012-02-17 08:55

    Why then do you appoint tsotsis? Instead of just weighing candidates, do security, literacy and background checks on them as well!

  • Alfred - 2012-02-17 08:56

    Life in South Africa has become worth less than a tickey. Minibus taxis also show this.

  • Christina - 2012-02-17 11:19

    41 year officer shooting a 16 year unarmed, hai whats happening with our police officers? even when you surrender they still shoot. im scared of the police, i dont trust them, how many more stories like this until solution/ action is taken. this police officers watch too much violent movies and they loose reality, fire the whole lot.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-17 11:26

    My reply here is almost the same as my last, the fact that the same vomit we have been fed for the last 18 years is now falling from a new set of lips does not mean we will now believe you, sort out corrupt officers and get the police to once again be the protectors of the innocent, until then do not expect respect or obedience from those you have betrayed.

  • Patsy - 2012-02-17 16:26

    I'm quite sure all the visits and all the condolences are not going to make the bereft family very happy. What's this new item about SAP members assaulting the girls? FGS What the hell is happening in this country. Prez JZ it's time you got off your big fat ass and sorted things out, Made your MPs responsible for their various departments. Sorted out all the corruption and crap in this government.

  • Yolanda - 2012-02-23 11:28

    This is an open and shut case. What investigating still needs to be conducted? The police man shot and killed an unarmed teenager. Just send him to jail already and stop playing around.

  • Amanda - 2012-02-23 11:41

    Its BEE's fault. Just take anyone to make up the numbers.

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