Cape Town police silent on JP Smith's negligence claim
Police in the Western Cape have declined to rise to the bait after the City of Cape Town accused them of negligence.
JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, released a statement on Friday saying a violent gangster and a heroin dealer arrested by metro cops this month were released without being charged by the SA Police Service.
Smith said he would be writing to Western Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula to call for an investigation of Philippi police station, where the alleged offenders were held.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said she would not comment on Smith’s claims until Jula received the complaint.
"At an appropriate time, taking into account some elements of the media statement which have legal implications, a detailed response would be communicated," she said.
Smith said the first case reported to him on Friday involved a 29-year-old Hanover Park gangster who was wounded after opening fire on metro police on March 2.
"The suspect was meant to appear in court on Monday March 4, but he was not charged and was released from custody the following day as the 48-hour holding period had expired," said Smith.
"It is shocking that a suspect with at least 10 arrests and seven convictions in the last decade was let go in this instance on a charge amounting to attempted murder and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
"Two of his convictions are for escaping from custody and robbery. He should not be on the streets, yet there he is, still tormenting the community with his criminal curriculum vitae"
In the second case, Smith said metro police officers arrested a woman in Hanover Park after finding tik and heroin in her home.
"Two days later, SAPS released the suspect, citing insufficient evidence, despite the fact the no meaningful investigation had taken place."
Smith said the incidents demonstrated "a flagrant disregard for public safety, but also negate the good work being done by the city’s metro police department and other city enforcement services”.
He added: "Community safety is a cry reverberating through so many of Cape Town’s residential areas. The treatment of serious offences as highlighted by the two cases mentioned is an injustice to the people of our city."