Editorial

Family of fallen policeman deserve better

06 September 2017 - 06:23 By The Times Editorial
Constable Tshepo Tladi whose death was caught on CCTV footage in Katlehong, on the East Rand. File photo
Constable Tshepo Tladi whose death was caught on CCTV footage in Katlehong, on the East Rand. File photo

The delay in justice for police Constable Tshepo Tladi's family is inexcusable.

Tladi was killed in a shoot-out with armed robbers in Katlehong eight months ago. At first his death was blamed on the armed robbers, but CCTV footage obtained by The Times days after the shooting told a different story.

The footage clearly shows Tladi being shot in the head by a colleague in the mayhem of the violent encounter.

It also shows what appears to be attempts by other officers to tamper with the crime scene, compounding the shocking tragedy.

On the face of it, the evidence is overwhelming, yet Tladi's family have waited the better part of a year to see any progress in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's inquiry into his death.

To compound the family's distress, the alleged killer returned to work at his police station shortly after Tladi's death.

Ipid say the docket is ready but that a decision has been delayed because the ballistics report had not been completed.

The case is, in many ways, symptomatic of our justice system where the gears grind slowly - unless the target is a perceived political foe of someone in power.

This does nothing but undermine confidence in law and order. If the authorities cannot swiftly deal with the death of a police officer allegedly by a colleague, what confidence can we have in the broader fight against crime?

In the past year some 40 police officers have been killed and many more will fall if these crimes are treated the way Tladi's killing has been.

"We don't feel okay. We still don't sleep. Nothing has changed because we are still waiting for answers," says his sister Tshidi.

Tladi, one of these fallen 40, deserves better and so does his family.

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