“Dead men tell no tales,” says expert amid surge in killing of criminal suspects

todayJanuary 22, 2024 34

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Veteran activist and violence monitor, Professor Mary de Haas, has raised concern over the spike in the killing of suspected criminals in KwaZulu-Natal.
More than 15 suspects were fatally shot during shootouts with the police in the province over the past three months.
De Haas says with the high number of corrupt police officers in South Africa – it is possible that some of those killed in the raids knew too much and had information that could implicate some police officers.
According to a 2019 Corruption Watch report, SAPS corruption cases accounted for 5.9% of all reports they had received from the public over a seven-year period. While most of the cases were from Gauteng – KwaZulu-Natal was the second province reported to have a high number of corrupt police officials.
De Haas says there are currently over 300 cases of people who died at the hands of police without proof that they were criminals in the province and are not being investigated.
She says while in some cases police must shoot first to defend themselves, in others their actions could sabotage the fight against corruption.
“There is so much corruption in the police and the good police suffer. If the police shoot people, there may be people who are working with corrupt police and they can’t expose the corruption if you shoot them because dead men tell no tale,” Prof de Hass adds.
Police in KwaZulu-Natal have in recent months intensified their fight against crime, especially in the crime-ridden Inanda area.
The police’s actions are part of the directive of Police Minister, Bheki Cele, who has been urging them to fight fire with fire.

In November, police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), raised concerns over the rising number of suspected criminals being killed by the police, saying while it appreciated the police who did their job in protecting communities, criminals were meant to be arrested not killed.

Professor de Haas has laid the blame squarely with Cele.
She believes that he is to blame for the police’s inability to tackle crime across the board.

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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