Phiyega must step up cop training to avoid sham

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (source: EWN).
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (source: EWN).

The Oscar Pistorius case has gripped the nation and the world since Valentine’s Day when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Much of the focus last week was also on the police investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer, Hilton Botha.

Hours after Eyewitness News revealed that Botha himself was facing several criminal charges relating to a taxi shooting, National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, pulled him off the case.

She, however, described him as a “good” cop.

And on Friday, Magistrate Desmond Nair, gave Botha a tongue-lashing when he granted Pistorius bail.

Botha contaminated the crime scene and he made a number of mistakes.

Pistorius has to be somewhat thankful to Botha for his inefficiencies that resulted in him getting bail.

If the police can be so useless in a high-profile case, can you imagine how cases of ordinary citizens are handled? Yes, there are pockets of excellence, but for the rest?

Botha said he did not have footgear to wear at the Pistorius crime scene because there was no stock.

Several detectives have since told me they don’t have the essential items to use at crime scenes. Many have to get gloves from paramedics at scenes.

This is an embarrassment to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Little wonder why so many criminals walk free because of blunders by “Keystone Kops”.

The SAPS must get down to basics. Training and resources are vital.

Phiyega needs to ensure that all forms of policing are professional – right from the arresting of suspects to detective work, forensics, testifying and communication.

Rape is still top of mind following the recent national outcry.

The police need to invest more money and time into the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units.

Far too many rapists are walking free because of poor investigations.

On the issue of rape, it’s time to mobilize.

On Friday, the start of Human Rights month, the Department of Basic Education and Lead SA, has called on all schools to have special assemblies at 8am.

After the national anthem has been sung, there will be a 15-minute talk on rape and sexual crimes.

Some 10,2 million learners and educators will also be asked to adopt a pledge. They will be encouraged to report any abuses to authorities.

Rape and sexual crimes will also be integrated into the Life Orientation curriculum.

Let’s all also adopt this pledge in our homes, offices and factories.

I pledge: To uphold the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; To abide by the laws of the country; To respect the rights of others irrespective of age, race, gender or sexual orientation; Not to rape or commit any form of sexual harassment, abuse or violence; To report any form of wrongdoing to authorities; To honour the responsibilities that comes with these rights and to be a good citizen. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

You can sign the pledge here.

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