South Africa

Nearly 1,500 South African Police Officers Have Been Convicted of "Serious Offenses"

The majority while already employed as police; crimes range from aiding an escapee to rape and murder

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Some of South Africa's most high-ranking police officers have been exposed as murderers, rapists and thieves but none have yet been fired, officials have admitted.

Opposition MPs said the revelation that crime fighters are themselves criminals demonstrates "serious mismanagement" of the police, whose reputation remains badly damaged by the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers at Marikana one year ago on Friday.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on police heard that a major general, 10 brigadiers, 21 colonels, 43 lieutenant colonels, 10 majors, 163 captains and 706 warrant officers have been found guilty of serious offences.

In total 1,448 members of the police have convictions, according to an audit up to January 2010. The crimes include murder, attempted murder, culpable homicide, rape, attempted rape, assault, aiding an escapee, theft, housebreaking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, robbery, malicious damage to property and domestic violence.

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