Minister speaks out on police corruption
Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Mthethwa said on Monday that the public’s perception of police corruption was correct and vowed to crack down on graft in the force.
“I am aware that some senior police officers are being investigated for corruption. We do not want such people in the police,” he said in an interview on public radio.
“The public perception that the police are corrupt is correct. Corrupt police officers should leave the police,” he said.
Mthethwa, who came into office in September, said that new strategies put in place to tackle crimes have recently begun to yield good results.
“During this festive season, we really dealt a blow to crimes ... In most cases, we prevented crimes before they happened. We pre-empted crimes,” including bank robberies across the country, he said without giving figures.
He said South Africa needed to strengthen crime intelligence, detection and prosecution, while reviewing anti-crime laws and the criminal justice system.
African National Congress president Jacob Zuma last month urged tougher legislation against all forms of crimes in a country where more than 50 murders are committed every day.
“I am convinced that within the parameters of the Constitution there is significant space for us to toughen legislation against all forms of criminality and to erase the space within which criminals are able to operate,” he was quoted as saying in the Star.
“Criminals must know that breaking the law will have severe consequences and that they’ll suffer as a result of their actions,” said Zuma, a presidential hopeful in next year’s elections.
Critics say that current legislation is not adequate or tough enough to prevent crimes and deter criminals.
“Adequate and long sentences that fit the crimes that are committed and the detrimental consequences these have on our society must be handed down by our courts,” said Zuma.
He said that while the ANC would not “erode” rights enshrined in the Constitution, he wanted to see the establishment of an efficient and transformed criminal justice system, working with communities to fight crime.
“The goal is to reduce serious and violent crime by 7% to 10% per year,” he said.
South Africa is one of the world’s most violent countries. Crimes such as housebreaking, hijacking and cash heists are often accompanied by high rates of murder, torture and violence.
The high crime rate has raised concerns about safety when South Africa hosts the 2010 Soccer World Cup, but Mthethwa insisted the country would be ready for the games.—Sapa-AFP