More good news, surprised no-one posted this already.
Court sends Hawks law back to parliament
Johannesburg - Businessman Hugh Glenister was "shell shocked" by the Constitutional Court ruling that part of the legislation enabling the disbanding of the Scorpions and the launch of the Hawks was constitutionally invalid.
"I am a little bit shell shocked. I was really not expecting this," Glenister told Sapa.
The court ruled on Wednesday that the legislation was constitutionally invalid because it did not provide enough protection against political influence for the Hawks, a specialist investigative unit within the police.
It ordered that Chapter 6A of the South Africa Police Services Act 68 of 1995, as amended, be sent back to parliament, with the order of constitutional invalidity suspended for 18 months, until it has been rectified.
Glenister took the case through the courts following a decision taken at the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference that the Directorate of Special Operations, known as the Scorpions, be disbanded. The ANC had repeatedly accused the Scorpions of a political agenda as it tried to prosecute President Jacob Zuma for allegedly accepting a bribe facilitated by his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik and French arms company Thint.
After Shaik's conviction and sentence for corruption and fraud, the Scorpions pursued Zuma and Thint. This was however dropped due to interference in that investigation.
"I am full of the joys of spring," said Glenister, who had cut a lone figure chain-smoking during the court recesses of previous hearings on the matter.
He lost several times. Plans went ahead to disband the Scorpions, who fell under the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and justice department, and form the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, (DPCI) otherwise known as the Hawks, within the structure of the police.
"I can only hope, but I cannot predict, that South Africans will now start tightening the reigns on their politicians at every level, from the municipal to national."
At one point he considered giving up.
"But people were chirping in my ear and making me positive. When battling a lone battle there are times when you get despondent, you just want to walk away and say 'enough'. But human beings have the capacity to inspire others."
A Hawks spokesperson said they would comment after seeing the judgment.
In its ruling, the court explained that the constitution, the Bill of Rights and international agreements on combating corruption which had been approved by parliament required that states create independent anti-corruption entities.
The judges said the DPCI's activities must be coordinated by the cabinet, and that the statute provides that a ministerial committee may determine policy guidelines for the DPCI's functioning, and for the selection of national priority offences.
This makes the unit vulnerable to political interference, with inadequate safeguards.
"Conditions of service of the unit's members and in particular those applying to its head make it insufficiently independent. Members thus have inadequate employment security to carry out their duties vigorously; the appointment of members is not sufficiently shielded from political influence; and remuneration levels are flexible and not secured. These aspects make the unit vulnerable to an undue measure of political influence."
The judges also found the constitution does not oblige parliament to place a specialised corruption-fighting unit only within the NPA, where the Scorpions had been situated.
During the Zuma investigation the NPA was dogged by controversy. One of its heads, Bulelani Ngcuka, eventually left after a long-standing impasse over a statement that although they had prima facie evidence Zuma was guilty, they would not prosecute him.
Another NPA head, Vusi Pikoli, was subjected to an inquiry over whether he was fit to hold office after the unit attempted to arrest former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who is now in the process of appealing a 15-year corruption sentence.
Although the inquiry concluded it could not find he was unfit to hold office, he was fired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
Selebi maintained he was the victim of a plot by the Scorpions.
The South African public is to blame as well though. There have been numerous reports in recent years of cops using torture to extract confessions from suspects, but as long as it was happening to 'criminals' both the newspapers and the general public were content to mostly ignore it. And when Cele emerged with his 'shoot to kill' talk he received a lot of support from many South Africans who believed that it meant he was going be tough on crime. The outrage now is good and I hope it spreads, but we might've been able to avoid some of this if the early warning signs had been heeded.
http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/art...ad--SolidarityTrade union Solidarity on Wednesday said it had won its eighth affirmative action case against the SA Police Service and government in the Labour Court.
"In terms of a ruling [on Tuesday], two white police members, Emil and Martha Oosthuizen, must be appointed retrospectively in accordance with a settlement reached between Solidarity and the SAPS," spokesman Dirk Hermann said in a statement.
He said this followed their application for reappointment in 2008, which was denied because their reappointment did not promote representation.
They both worked as fingerprint experts in the SAPS from 1990 until their resignation in 2006.
In July 2009 they applied for about 20 positions separately, and were finally reappointed in August 2010.
Hermann said that in terms of the court order, police records had to be adjusted to show their reappointment date as March 2009.
"Solidarity is turning the unreasonable way in which affirmative action is implemented in the SAPS and the public service on its head case by case," he said.
"The test of all these cases is to determine whether the ideology of absolute representivity should be implemented at the expense of service delivery."
Hermann said that in not one case could the ideology withstand the trial by court.
The union had won eight consecutive affirmative action cases against the SAPS and government, out of twelve cases brought before the court.
In one of these cases last year, the court ruled that Captain Renate Barnard be promoted to superintendent.
Hermann said the SAPS had appealed the ruling and the case would go to the Labour Appeals court on May 4.
"In our opinion, this case is essential since a higher court will now determine whether affirmative action in South Africa is reasonable or not," Hermann said.
I'm not sure if this should be in the photo section, or here, but anyway, here are members of the SAP apprehending a heinous criminal...
...whose only crime was that he took their photograph.
I don't remember seeing any new legislation making it illegal to take photographs of SAPS members, but I may have just missed it. Would one off the SAPS members care to comment on whether this is now the case?Cele’s brutal force
South African police are becoming more brutal by the day, with civil cases against them pushing the contingent liability budget to a whopping R7.5 billion in the last financial year.
The Sunday Independent reveals today that the sharp spike in brutal action by the police has seen the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) investigating three times more severe assault cases last year than in 2001.
These revelations come as the country celebrates Human Rights Day and against the backdrop of a recent case in which the police have been accused of using excessive force on civilians.
Last month the police stormed a restaurant in Melville, Joburg, in the early hours and assaulted patrons. The incident was captured on closed circuit TV cameras inside the Catz Pyjamas and it shocked the nation.
Police researchers and lawyers who specialise in litigating against the police have warned that anecdotal reports of giving electric shocks, suffocation and other apartheid-style torture methods have become more prevalent.
ICD statistics compiled by a Centre for the Study of Violence (CSVR) and Reconciliation researcher indicate that:
l Since 2001/02 the number of assault investigations conducted by the ICD has trebled from 255 to 920 in 2009/10. Attempted murder cases it investigated have gone up over seven times from 43 in 2001/02 to 325 in the last financial year.
l The number of fatal shooting investigations was at an all time high over the past two financial years – at 556 in 2008/09 and 524 in 2009/10. This is compared with 458 in 1997/08, 293 in 2002/03 and an all time low of 281 in 2005/06.
And policing researchers say the spike in fatal shootings can be traced back to KwaZulu-Natal, where there has been a 173 percent increase in five years – from 75 in 2005/06 to 205 in 2009/10.
“These statistics raise the question of whether sections of the police in KwaZulu-Natal may have adopted an approach which is defined by the belief that extra- legal methods are not only justified but in fact necessary to address violent crime,” writes David Bruce of the CSVR.
Police ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi says Minister Nathi Mthethwa is “extremely concerned about the continuing allegations of police brutality”.
Mnisi says strengthening ICD legislation is the first step to curbing the problem.
“We would rather have the police on the ground, fighting crime than in court defending themselves for their alleged abuses of civilians,” said Mnisi.
Meanwhile the courts are flooded with civil cases against the police that have pushed the contingent liability budget to R2bn more than the 2005/06 financial year when the police were prepared to pay R5.3bn for assault, damage to property, shooting incidents and other “police actions”.
The police say the amount is deliberately set high, and “not all of it was utilised”. “When you plan for possible lawsuits, it is best to have more in your budget, but
it does not necessarily imply you will utilise the whole amount. So in cases where it has not been fully utilised or lesser lawsuits were brought against the police, it will then be directed to (other) programmes,” said Mnisi.
The Sunday Independent has found a number of civil cases lodged in the Johannesburg and Pretoria High courts in which the applicants claim the police assaulted, gave electric shocks, or suffocated them, and they demand compensation.
The taxpayer carries the burden of paying for the police’s excessive use of force.
While individual cases are not astronomical, with cost awards added, they can mount up.
l Edwin Molokomme claims to have been assaulted, suffocated and given electric shocks at the Wierdabrug Police Station in Pretoria, before being “forced to sign an admission statement” on February 7, 2007.
l Chiza Ndaba claims to have been bundled into the boot of his car by members of the police in Worcester in the Western Cape, kicked repeatedly and pepper-sprayed on March 19, 2008.
l Isaac Sibiya claims that after his arrest on August 18, 2007 by Vosloorus police in Ekurhuleni, he was beaten so badly he was later hospitalised at the Natalspruit Hospital for over a month.
l Zipho Ndlovu claims Midrand police hooded him, placed him in a torture position and subjected him to electric shocks on May 27, 2010.
l Sifiso Makhubu claims the Diepkloof police smothered, sjambokked and shocked him on November 14, 2009.
While these cases have yet to be tested in court, the ICD is concerned about the resurgence of heavy handed tactics among the police, saying it has received “numerous reports of unwarranted attacks on civilians by police officers attached to special units”.
“These acts cannot be tolerated in a constitutional democracy. Policing in 2011 should be totally different from the apartheid past that we come from. Police officers should uphold the rule of law and not be the ones accused of breaking it,” said ICD executive director Francois Beukman.
This came after video footage emerged of police Tactical Response Team (TRT) members barging into Melville bar, the Catz Pyjamas, and assaulting patrons. The ICD says it is investigating the incident along with another, also involving TRT members, which took place at CJs Pub in Hillbrow.
Wits Law Clinic lawyer Peter Jordi says “there is level of criminality within the police much higher than the police will admit”.
Jordi has specialised in civil prosecutions against the police for over 25 years and says while he is not against them, he wants “the police to do a good job”.
“I saw definitely, anecdotally, that there was a lot of torture going on in the early 1990s. This is of ordinary criminal suspects. Then there was a diminution and now torture is definitely back at full throttle. It is happening all over the place. They torture you at the drop of a hat about nothing.”
Bruce, who studied ICD statistics from as far back as 1997, says statistics of fatalities in police custody are the most reliable and concerning.
He believes there could be hundreds more incidents of common assault at the hands of the police which are not being reported.
IN THE GRIP: Police brutality at Northgate Mall after an armed robbery at two cellphone shops. The person being manhandled is the brother-in-law of a man who was shot and wounded by the criminals.
Police wrestle Pretoria News chief photographer Masi Losi to the ground moments after he started taking pictures of them arresting a suspected thief outside the newspaper's office in Vermuelen Street.
Not only is it perfectly legal to take photographs of SAPS members in public, but the Police Standing Orders specifically instruct police officers to assist journalists who are covering public incidents. See Sanef's statement on the arrests of journalists for more.
Once again the police are making up laws to suit themselves.
This sadly a very good representation of these types of cops!(apologies to the 20% of you that are real policemen)
The intro kinda says it all:
" all suspects are guilty,period!otherwise they wouldnt be suspects would they!"
Blue Light police scare me...
Eish!Cops damage Krejcír's neighbour's house
Johannesburg - The Hawks caused an estimated R100 000 damage on Tuesday night when they raided the wrong house.
The police's elite unit, which investigates priority crimes, raided a house they thought belonged to fugitive Czech millionaire, Radovan Krejcír.
They quickly realised they had raided 54 Kloof Road in Bedfordview, instead of 54A.
Alphius Matshavha, 44, an employee who lives at 54 Kloof Road, said on Wednesday that he and another employee, Christina Modutoane, 48, woke up at about midnight on Tuesday to the sound of stun grenades, a helicopter, an armoured vehicle and several police officials rushing onto the premises.
"When I woke with a fright and heard the noise outside, I was very scared. I didn't move. I was too scared they would shoot and kill me."
Simon Guidetti, 35, Krejcír's neighbour and the owner of the house which the Hawks had accidentally raided, said he wasn't home at the time. He added that Modutoane would probably have to go for counselling, because she was suffering from shock.
"My property was destroyed after they damaged the front gate, the garage door, front door and ransacked every room in the house.
"They even ripped the security gates inside the house out of the walls," said Guidetti.
When the Hawks realised their mistake, they used ladders to climb over Guidetti's boundary wall and gain access to Krejcír's premises. Krejcír wasn't home. They wanted to arrest him on murder and fraud charges.
"The commander of the Hawks had an apathetic attitude about what had happened and said they would sort everything out today (Wednesday). But he didn't show up for our planned 11:00 meeting at my house," said Guidetti.
He said the damage to his property could be more than R100 000, and he reported the incident to the Bedfordview police station.
Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said they would reimburse Guidetti for the damages as soon as he made a claim.
"This kind of misunderstanding happens regularly but on the positive side, we got access faster to Krejcír's house," said Polela.
Polela said his commander was too busy to meet with Guidetti because they hadn't got "their man" on Tuesday night and were busy looking for him.