SAPS ‘incompetence’, political interference panned in Moerane report

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu. (Photo by Jethro Snyders/2016 Loerie Awards)

There was evidence that ‘criminal elements’ were recruited by politicians to achieve political ends, ‘that also lead to the murder of politicians’.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) and related enforcement agencies received a scathing review in the long-awaited report of the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

“There was ample evidence before the Commission that acts of omission and commission by the police, through incompetence or political manipulation, has led to a loss of public confidence in the criminal justice system, but especially the police services and security agencies in general, including crime intelligence, national intelligence, and the specialised policing and prosecution agencies,” according to the report.

The 424-page document was presented to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature this afternoon and journalists were provided with hard copies. It is unclear when an online copy will be made available for public consumption.

The commission was mandated with investigating the underlying causes of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal. More than 60 witnesses ended up testifying before Moerane, professor Cheryl Potgieter and advocate Vasu Gounden.

“It is recommended that the State take immediate measures to ensure that institutions of the entire criminal justice system are immediately depoliticised and the political manipulation of these agencies to meet political ends is immediately brought to an end, and public measures be taken to instil confidence in the public that the State is acting vigorously, expeditiously and without fear or favour,” stated the report.

The report recommended that an inter-ministerial task force comprising security cluster ministers and their provincial and municipal counterparts should “immediately” review the workings of the security agencies to ensure effective cooperation.

Cooperation amongst the agencies “was a major contributory factor to the unresolved murder of politicians and consequently contributes to the perceptions [of] and actual culture of impunity”.

“It is recommended that the recruiting, training, and deployment of police be improved through ensuring that properly qualified people are recruited, adequate and specialised training is given, and appropriate police be deployed to appropriate situations,” stated the report.

There was evidence that there were weaknesses in crime intelligence regarding the gathering, processing and deploying of evidence to prevent or resolve the murder of politicians.

There was also evidence that “criminal elements” were recruited by politicians to achieve political ends, which resulted in “a complex matrix of criminal and political associations that also lead to the murder of politicians”.

In May, President Cyril Ramaphosa established an inter-ministerial committee – headed by Police Minister Bheki Cele – tasked with ensuring those guilty of slaying politicians in the province were brought to book. At a media briefing last week, Cele said that the recently expanded police task team dealing with political killings was dealing with 137 cases.

African News Agency (ANA)

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