The latest crime statistics released this week revealed that more than two million dockets were opened by police during the 2017-18 financial year, including those opened as a direct result of their own actions.
It’s a staggering number by any measure, but what we don’t know is how many were culled as declined to prosecute, insufficient evidence, withdrawn and so on.
We also won’t know, aside from the 433 966 arrests made by police as a result of police action, how many of those dockets which survived the culling landed up with arrests and convictions until the National Prosecuting Authority releases its annual report for the same year.
The 2016-17 report stated all courts managed 321 166 convictions with a “remarkable” 94.1% conviction rate. It’s just as likely the total number of police dockets registered last year will be quite close to this year’s astounding number.
It’s a massive load for the police, standing at about 152 000-strong. Whittle that down to specialised units, uniformed officers and detectives with various specialities and the 200 to 300 dockets per detective begins to make sense.
Most of these will be closed undetected, and never seen again.
Then there’s the high-profile cases that investigators are warned off, won’t touch with a barge pole, or the polar opposite where investigators won’t let go despite there being less evidence than you could shake an empty brown envelope at.
Like the universally discredited SA Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit” narrative and Project Sunday Evenings, where it’s alleged the Sars three bugged the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) offices and paid someone R100 000 to do it.
The three accused have appeared four times now, each time gaining a little more ground on the NPA which is odd, because if it was so sure of its case, why miss deadlines for statements, refuse to hand over documentation in discovery, and drag the case out. It’s usually the defendants who put up a fight.
The NPA’s sole witness has admitted under oath to have lied and committed fraud on the instruction of now suspended Sars head, Tom Moyane.
It’s going to be interesting watching the NPA waste taxpayers’ money getting past the credibility issues on this one.
It’s the same group who’ve lost cases against Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride, former Ipid investigator Matthews Sesoko and forensic sleuth Paul O’Sullivan, and recently withdrew the case against former Hawks boss, Anwa Dramat.
If “experienced” law givers had focused just a little on Eskom, Transnet, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, SABC, Denel, state capture cases, water affairs, provincial and municipal tender fraud, Trillian, McKinsey, SAP, Bain & Company, tobacco industry, KPMG, VBS bank, and the Guptas and their acolytes, our country would be a much better place.
More than 20 000 people were buried last year due to crime. Many of the killers will never face justice. But let’s waste money on cases with no chance of success.