“South Africa risks gaining a reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world if we do not nip the scourge in the bud. In the midst of abject poverty and hunger, greed and the speedy accumulation of wealth have become the most defining characteristics of South Africa's post-apartheid democracy.” -- Sunday Times Editorial, Nov 22, 2009
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“Corruption in the public service is so rife, so endemic, so all-pervasive, that ordinary South Africans regard it as the normal way of doing things. In the municipalities, virtually no tender is awarded without some politician’s or official’s relative, friend or business associate being in on the game. If they are not, a bribe is paid. In queues for government services, even when dealing with the police, bribes change hands as a matter of course.”
“That culture starts at the top and permeates the whole system. Morality, values, have all disappeared. It is everyone for himself. That is why ministers believe they have a “right” to put extras in their official cars, such as television sets. It is the culture.”
“This is how the failed states of Nigeria, the DR Congo and others were born. The culture of bribery, lack of service delivery and impunity of public officials took hold. That is where we are headed unless something is done — soon.”
-- -- Justice Malala, Black Politicians Fiddle as SA Burns
Police in crime conspiracy
Dec 12, 2009 11:09 PM
By Shanaaz Eggington, Sunday Times
Investigation into fudging of crime statistics reveal how police downgraded serious offences
A probe into the manipulation of crime statistics is gathering momentum as new details emerge of how police with evidence of serious crimes, such as child rape, failed to open dockets.
Police stations in two provinces stand accused of destroying dockets and downgrading the seriousness of reported crimes, in a conspiracy to make it look as if there was less crime in their areas.
This week it emerged that:
* Police failed to open a docket into the alleged rape of five primary school pupils by one man in a single day, despite medical and other evidence;
* The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), a police watchdog body probing the crime statistics scandal, now wants to scrutinise over 1000 more dockets in the Western Cape;
* Western Cape community safety MEC Lennit Max called on the ICD to make public the preliminary results of their probe into 103 dockets in the province.
Four police officers, including Pietermaritzburg's Mountain Rise police station commissioner, Harriram Badul, were arrested after a probe into the alleged destruction of dockets.
They were arrested on 51 counts of fraud and corruption and the case has been handed to the Hawks.
The Sunday Times this week established that police in Paarl, in the Western Cape, failed to open a docket after being handed doctor's certificates confirming injuries consistent with the rape of five primary school pupils. Neither did they arrest the suspect, pointed out by the victims - four girls and one boy aged 6 to 12 - earlier this year. Instead, they opened an inquiry, which, unlike a docket, is not counted among crime statistics. The suspect was only arrested in June after a special task team of about 25 members of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) from Cape Town were sent to Paarl to track down and arrest suspects linked to over 100 cases registered as inquiries in the area.
The team swooped after Max asked the ICD to probe claims that crime figures were being manipulated in the province.
The team of detectives were handed over 100 dockets - all opened the day before they arrived in Paarl - and told to "immediately arrest all the suspects identified and pointed out" by their victims.
They arrested up to 30 suspects that day.
The ICD has now asked police to hand over 1000 dockets from the Boland cluster of police stations, which include Paarl, Paarl East, Mbekweni, Malmesbury, Riebeeck-Wes and Philadelphia. The provincial head of the police's legal services has written to the ICD, asking for the investigation to be "expedited and completed".
Max has also written to the ICD asking for their preliminary findings, based on an evaluation of 103 dockets from the Paarl area, to be made public.
"The ICD must first positively link somebody to any wrongdoing before any action is taken. I hope, however, that if there was any, the police will act consistently, as they did in the Lansdowne case."
The former station commissioner at Lansdowne police station in Cape Town, Senior Superintendent Charlene Chandler, became the first police officer in the country to be fired for fiddling with crime figures.
The SAPS fired her in October for defeating the ends of justice after an internal probe.
ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini this week confirmed there had been a request for more police dockets for the watchdog to examine. "We are waiting for SAPS to make them available," he said.
Director Novela Potelwa, spokesman for provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros, said: "We eagerly await the finalisation of the ICD investigation, which has been going on since June 2009. Unfortunately we cannot comment on any of the Paarl cases as they form part of the ICD investigation."
The Sunday Times spoke to the family of a 10-year-old girl who, with four other pupils, was lured to a house in Paarl and allegedly raped by a man earlier this year.
Her aunt, who cannot be named in order to protect the child's identity, said: "He told them he had food for them at home. While they were eating, he took them one by one to the room and (allegedly) raped them. One boy was sodomised and said he saw a lot of condoms on the bedroom floor."
Police were summoned by the school principal and the children taken to a hospital, where a doctor confirmed that they had injuries consistent with those of rape.