Posted by: gypsytales | January 16, 2009

Consequences of a Rudderless Police Service

Extract from front page article:  The Star newspaper, 8 January 2009


111 members of elite police unit have been charged with major crimes




Murder – Attempted murder – Rape – Armed robbery – Abuse of power


Over the past four years, 111 members of the police’s elite VIP Protection Unit – responsible for protecting the president, among others – have been charged with crimes such as murder, attempted murder, rape, armed robbery and the abuse of power.


The revelation comes in the wake of an undertaking by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to begin a full-scale investigation into the VIP unit, which, over the past few years, has gained notoriety as road bullies.


According to the office of the Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa, between 2005 and 2008:

  • Six officers faced charges of murder or attempted murder;
  • 10 officers faced charges of assault, or assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm;
  • One officer faced a rape charge;
  • 26 faced driving-related charges, most involving reckless or negligent driving.  Eight of those were for driving under the influence of alcohol;
  • Two officers faced chargers of damage to property;
  • Three faced charges of pointing a firearm, or handling a firearm under the influence of alcohol; and
  • One officer faced a charge of armed robbery. 

Over the same period, six officers were charged with abuse of power, two for dereliction of duty and 56 for misconduct.


The data released by the minister of safety and security illustrates how a rudderless police service has lost all ability to hold police units to account, and underscores the importance of Monday’s decision by the Independent Complaints Directorate to conduct a full investigation into the unit.


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