At least 27 officers of South Africa‘s Crime Intelligence division have criminal records.
This has been revealed in Police Minister Bheki Cele‘s answer to a written Parliamentary question from DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.
“20 members‘ criminal records relate to contraventions of the Road Traffic Act, whilst seven [are] of a serious nature,” Cele‘s reply reads.
He further stated that newly-appointed head of the Crime Intelligence Unit, Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs, was investigating the “circumstances surrounding” the seven serious cases.
“Police Minister Bheki Cele inherited this problem, but he cannot allow criminals to remain in the SAPS and must account for those found guilty of crimes immediately. Criminals cannot be responsible for keeping our country safe,” said Kohler Barnard in a statement released on Monday.
“This once again highlights a nationwide problem of police members with criminal records and raises questions about the effectiveness of the police top brass.”
In her question, Kohler Barnard asked from which province each officer was, as well as the name and rank of each officer and the crimes they were convicted of.
Cele‘s answer didn‘t provide those details.
“The fact that the question was not answered in full, leads one to wonder what information is being hidden. The DA will ask follow-up questions to elicit more details,” said Kohler Barnard.
She added that it was unacceptable to allow members who have serious convictions to remain in the police and added that it “points to a serious failure of leadership which is compromising the fight against crime”.
“The fact that there’s a dark cloud over the entire SAPS leadership should be a cause for concern for Minister Cele.”
She said his “sluggish response” created the impression that he was tacitly approving of the “rot and gross mismanagement in the police service”.
“The systemic failure of SAPS leadership is disturbing and the need for the SAPS to be professionalised could not be more dire.”
In his budget speech on May 15, Cele said the police was in the process of a Crime Intelligence overhaul.