“The police do not have to arrest before completing an investigation,” Mogoeng told Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice.
“With politicians, when constituents scream and give pressure to arrest whoever, the police are called in and make the arrest, because for the politician, no arrest means no votes and career-limiting issues.
“Discourage these quick arrests… They put pressure on the judiciary and judges bear the blame when those arrested in such circumstances are released,” he said.
The committee, led by chairman Mathole Motshekga, was meeting the heads of the judiciary at the offices of the chief justice in Johannesburg.
The members of the judiciary explained the problems facing court systems and the budget and resources constraints.
Supreme Court of Appeal president Lex Mpati said there was a need to appoint qualified people at police stations to take proper statements and interpret them properly.
He was a practising attorney himself, and said that sometimes, while cross-examining a witness in court, a prosecutor would hand him a witness’s police statement which contradicted what the witness was actually saying.
In serious criminal cases, accused people went free because of bungling at police stations, he said.
Mpati said he was concerned by perceptions among parliamentarians that the judiciary invited cases to courts.
“It’s a concern to me, because it seems if a case goes against a particular government department, there is a perception that we invite cases.
“That notion should be dispelled… We do not invite cases. Cases are brought to us and we deal with them appropriately,” he said.
Motshekga said he noted the concerns and that the justice system needed to be efficient in order to deal with crime.
“We have confidence in the justice system. Education, especially constitutional education for our people is very important, we know that is not your task, chief justice, but that of government. We think as a committee that the judiciary is in good hands,” he said.