How bad cops go after good cops

Crooked South African Police Service (SAPS) members are “filling up” court rooms with malicious prosecutions to silence their competent colleagues who are investigating politically sensitive cases – as well as the honest ones who are trying to expose corruption. Long-time violence- and police monitor Mary De Haas – who has fought tirelessly for decades to hold the police accountable for abuses of power – gives BizNews the inside story of a force “riddled with criminality”. She describes how one officer is being maliciously prosecuted with no evidence at all, but simply to take him off a case that is a “political bombshell”. She recalls how the Nationalists still had a sense of shame when exposed, but says the current government has “no sense of shame”. De Haas lists the urgent police reforms that could be implemented immediately if there were political will – and she calls on big business to do read the Riot Act to the Presidency. Meanwhile, she is fighting all the way to Parliament on behalf of SAPS whistleblower Patricia Morgan-Mashale who is still in hiding. – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:09 – Introductions
  • 00:31 – Mary de Haas on her recommendations to strengthen the police force
  • 04:53 – On how the rot in there SA police service goes back a long way
  • 10:13 – On the black and white detectives during Apartheid
  • 12:11 – On good black cops not getting rewarded for good work
  • 16:47 – On SAPS whistleblower Patricia Morgan Mashale and her thoughts on the case
  • 22:50 – On how she got into contact with Patricia
  • 27:38 – On cops getting dismissed for doing the right thing
  • 32:15 – On the dangers that whistleblowers face in the police force
  • 34:17 – On Patricia’s case
  • 37:39 – Concludes

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Highlights from the interview

Crooked South African Police Service (SAPS) members are using malicious prosecutions to silence their competent colleagues who are investigating politically sensitive cases-  as well as the honest ones who are trying to expose corruption.

Long-time violence- and police monitor Mary De Haas – who has fought tirelessly for decades to hold the police accountable for abuses of power – gives BizNews the inside story of a police force “riddled with criminality”.

De Haas – who has been supporting SAPS whistleblower Patrica Morgan-Mashale who has been hiding for almost 17 months – recounts the long history in the police of victimisation of good members of the force by the bad ones. 

Read more: I will not die silent – SAPS whistleblower in hiding

During formal research De Haas conducted after 1994, she found when good detectives started investigating politicians, they got victimised. “Just like Patricia’s getting victimised now…they got malicious disciplinary charges and sometimes criminal charges.”

Almost 30 years later, the abuse of the courts by the police to silence accusers and detectives uncovering political links to crimes, has reached epic proportions. “I thought that KZN was the pits in policing. Oh, that was until I found out what was going on in the Free State. I mean, the Free State, I think, is the Heart of Darkness because there I’m hearing these stories…through Patricia…”

De Haas has fought Morgan-Mashale’s case all the way to Parliament. “I mean Patricia’s case is a particularly bad case – and this is why I will fight with all and sundry…and that’s how I know that this Parliamentary Committee is hopeless. Hopeless. All they have done is covered for the police.”

She describes how malicious prosecutions are busy “filling up” the country’s court rooms. “One of them got a malicious prosecution against him with nothing, no evidence at all, but simply to take him off a case that is a political bombshell. He’s being maliciously charged…he sent his family away as he’s under threat. He’s a competent policeman,” she fumes.

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“And one of these police I’m worried about…has done excellent work – and when he was doing it…he was under threat of death because the people he was investigating linked to politicians…and there was one policeman who was investigating complicity…police and taxi…he was shot dead with his family travelling in the car.”

Meanwhile, victimised SAPS members are being “dismissed “procedurally” while “political cadres are integrated and they’re now colonels, or somebody is suddenly rapidly promoted who’s hardly been in the police for long”.

“I can tell you that the police currently are riddled with criminality and there’s no one to deal with it, De Haas charges.

“And the extraordinary thing is the Nationalists had a sense of shame when you exposed them…Government has no sense of shame, they just ignore it all.

“…what happened until about…in the Nineties and even until about 2009 was that I could send letters to the police, follow up cases and get responses, often inadequate responses, but I got responses…until 2009 there was a degree of accountability. It vanished. It vanished…

“Now, I get all this information about which police do their jobs, which police don’t, which police I could talk to still, but I get no official responses. There was a brief period where I did get a few responses from the provincial office and that stopped – and I think that the provincial commissioners also had instructions not to deal with me…

Read more: South Africa’s economic growth strategy needs a US makeover, not an Asian one – Moeletsi Mbeki

“I watch my back all the time…”

De Haas lists these urgent reforms that could be implemented immediately if there were political will to do so:

  • The establishment of an independent Policing Board to oversee policing, appointments and promotions;
  • Demilitarisation of the force; 
  • Proper training; and
  • The removal of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) from the control of the Minister of Police. 

Meanwhile, she calls on the business community to demand action from President Cyril Ramaphosa. “I wish that business would read the Riot Act to the Presidency.”

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