SA police 'negligent' over killings
Friday 19 February 1993
The latest trial, which ended this week, prompted the African National Congress to call yesterday for an independent inquiry.
On Tuesday in the Supreme Court, Judge C J Botha accused the police of negligence in their investigations after acquitting five Inkatha supporters of the killing of 28 people at Swanieville squatter camp, near Johannesburg, on 12 May 1991. The attack, the court heard, was carried out by about 1,000 Inkatha hostel-dwellers from a nearby township.
Judge Botha, who said it was a 'scandal' so few had been brought to trial, found that the police had escorted the killers back to the township - more than an hour away by foot - and could accordingly have arrested hundreds. The judge remarked that while the escort might have averted further conflict, as the police claimed, he could not understand why they had not made sure they could identify any of the men at a later stage. He noted, too, that he could not exclude the possibility the police themselves had taken part in the massacre. (Such allegations about the police have been made by numerous witnesses to the massacre in Boipatong township last June when Inkatha supporters killed 42.)
In August last year another Supreme Court judge, Henry Daniels, found that the police had deliberately botched a case against another five Inkatha supporters accused of a massacre in Alexandra township in which 13 died. The judge said he was amazed that they had failed to carry out a procedure as basic as testing the one murder weapon they found for fingerprints.
The third case ended in June last year, when seven Inkatha supporters were acquitted of shooting 38 ANC supporters in Sebokeng township. The seven were identified by survivors within hours of the massacre but, the magistrate said, the police had failed to make a proper case against them.
The one exception to the trend revealed by these three cases was in a trial in Natal last April when five policemen - one a white police captain - were sentenced to death after being found to have colluded with Inkatha in the killing of 11 people at a wake in Trust Feeds township.
The two police detectives who successfully investigated that case lived under constant threat from their security police colleagues. The judge found, besides, that a police general, Ronnie van der Westhuizen, had tried to cover up their findings.
Interestingly, yesterday the police said that General van der Westhuizen, now retired, had conducted an internal investigation into the police role in the Swanieville massacre. The general headed a special unit appointed to investigate political violence nation-wide between early 1990 and the end of 1991, a period when some 5,000 people died. His unit did not solve one case.
The National Executive Committee of the ANC officially endorsed yesterday an agreement negotiated earlier this month with the government for an interim government of national unity to rule South Africa for five years after all-race elections are held.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...
£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN TA's apply now! West Midlands
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...