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SAPS general to be prosecuted for ‘humiliating’ policewoman in front of recruits

17 May 2022 - 16:14
A police general is to be prosecuted on charges of crimen injuria for allegedly making derogatory statements about a female officer's attire, weight and skin colour in front of new recruits. Stock photo.
A police general is to be prosecuted on charges of crimen injuria for allegedly making derogatory statements about a female officer's attire, weight and skin colour in front of new recruits. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/EVGENYI LASTOCHKIN

A police general is to be prosecuted on charges of crimen injuria for allegedly making derogatory statements in 2016 about a female officer's attire, weight and skin colour in front of new recruits.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided to prosecute the general after intervention by AfriForum’s private prosecution unit.

Capt Riana Stander, 53, and other officials were allegedly humiliated in November 2016 when the general visited the police academy in Oudtshoorn and made remarks about their appearance.

AfriForum said on Tuesday that Stander and others were instructed to stand on a stage when the alleged comments were made, to the applause and cheers of about 450 recruits.

Stander opened a case docket in November 2016.

According to AfriForum's advocate Phyllis Vorster, Stander was declared medically unfit to serve and is no longer employed by SAPS, largely due to trauma and stress that followed the incident.

When the union Solidarity put pressure on SAPS an internal disciplinary hearing was held in 2018. “The finding was that the accused’s [general's] comments towards Stander and other officials were racist, as well as derogatory and discriminatory and she was consequently dismissed in 2019,” said Vorster.

“The accused was also found to be a dishonest and unreliable witness. The finding and sanction was, however, overturned during an arbitration process and the general has returned to the SAPS. The SAPS inexplicably has not reinstituted disciplinary action.”

The NPA declined to prosecute at the time, prompting Solidarity and Stander to approach AfriForum to privately prosecute the accused in 2019.

The director of public prosecutions (DPP) in Cape Town had initially, in writing, indicated that there was not prima facie proof of crimen injuria.

Then the private prosecution unit in July 2019 requested a nolle prosequi certificate on behalf of Stander to privately prosecute. After numerous letters, the DPP confirmed the state would be prosecuting.

While the NPA had not provided a date for the first appearance of the accused, Stander was elated the case would finally go to court.

“I am confident that justice will finally be done,” she said.

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