Metro cops face criminal caseThursday, 19/07/2012 - 16:44
The internal investigation into the six Johannesburg metro police officials who were involved in the April assault of two Ivory Park residents has been concluded, the City of Johannesburg has said.
The city has confirmed that the six officials are now facing a criminal case for the assault of Andries Ndlovu and Joseph Khumalo, and the investigation is being handled by the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID).
The internal department investigation had been concluded and was pending prosecution. Judgement would be announced soon after case adjudicators had converged, said city spokesperson Gabu Tugwana.
Following media reports about the incident, which took place on uMnotho Street in Ivory Park on 20 April, the six cops were identified and taken off the streets. They were stripped off their uniforms and an internal investigation was undertaken.
Ndlovu and Khumalo are hawkers. They were assaulted by the metro cops just days after Corruption Watch released a damning report on corruption in the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD).
The six officers were carrying out administrative duties throughout the investigation, and Tugwana confirmed that they would continue to receive salaries until the outcome of the case. “The Labour Relations Act is very clear about such matters: an employer may not stop salary payment of an employee whose case is still not finalised and the guilty verdict pronounced.”
In the case of a female JMPD officer who was arrested for soliciting a R1 000 bribe from a Zimbabwean official, Lennon Kheswa, in April, Tugwana said the matter had been put on hold after Kheswa returned to Zimbabwe. He had work obligations and could no longer stay in South Africa.
“The case has been temporarily closed as undetected until the complainant can return to South Africa for the case to be opened provided that the required information is sufficient to prosecute the perpetrator,” said Tugwana.
The officer concerned is still performing her duties in a non-uniform environment.
Positive response to hotline
A few weeks ago, on 29 June, Corruption Watch made the City of Joburg its “zero of the week” for failing to respond to its recommendations on the JMPD report. Khanya Umlaw of the city manager’s office responded to Corruption Watch, saying the city would soon announce a number of important steps to address bribery and corruption in the department.
On Monday, 23 April, the day Corruption Watch released its JMPD report, the city issued a press release welcoming the report. It urged people to report corruption and other wrongful acts on its 24-hour hotline, 0800 213 712.
The hotline number has been displayed throughout the media and was also published on Corruption Watch’s website homepage. It has also been linked to the cellphone of the chief of operations to ensure a 24/7 service.
The city has told Corruption Watch that it has received a positive response from the public since introducing the hotline. The number of complaints received varied from day to day, and about 160 complaints had been received since 23 April, said Tugwana.
Once a complaint has been received and the accuracy of the information has been confirmed, the matter is registered, investigated and a recommendation is made to indicate if there is a prima facia case or not. Where there is not sufficient evidence, the matter is captured by email for follow-up.
Out of the 160 calls received since 23 April, only 18 actual cases were opened. “The remainder of calls received were of such a nature that they could not be pursued,” said Tugwana. “They [complainants] were either not willing to testify or wanted to remain anonymous.”
During this period, three cases of extortion, bribery and corruption were investigated. Two officers were dismissed for bribery and corruption that took place before 23 April, said Tugwana.
One officer was charged with bribery and corruption for receiving R50 as a bribe for not issuing a fine to a driver. The second officer, a cashier, was charged with fraud and corruption for taking cash and replacing it with a fraudulent cheque. Both officers were found guilty and were dismissed.
Every case would be dealt with in terms of the disciplinary code and collective agreement, which stipulated that disciplinary procedures should be finalised within a period of 90 days, but, Tugwana said, the city endeavoured to finalise the cases before that time and inform the public thereafter.