Dozens of SAfrica police murder and rape: minister

Tue Sep 8, 2009 8:34pm GMT

By Peroshni Govender

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Dozens of South African policemen have committed murders and rapes in the financial year which ended in March 2009, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said.

In a written response to a question posed by an opposition party in parliament, Mthethwa said more than 600 police had been investigated by the service's Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), which found some had also abused drugs and stolen.

It is unclear how many faced criminal prosecution and if they are still in the police service, said the minister.

"To obtain the information would be time consuming. The redeployment of police employees to carry out this task would be to the detriment of other essential duties or service delivery to the community," said Mthethwa. A copy of his response was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

The ICD found 38 policemen "guilty" of murder, 33 of attempted murder and 30 of rape. The highest number of offenses was for theft, with 108.

"The total number of members charged (committed crimes) in the financial year 2008/2009 were 669," said Mthethwa.

The findings could raise questions over the credibility of South Africa's police force, charged with tackling one of the world's highest rates of violent crime and making the streets safe before the country hosts the 2010 soccer World Cup.

The government hopes the tournament will bring South Africa millions of tourist dollars and international prestige.   Continued...

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