Minister Plato condemns DoJ’s criminal charges threat against SAPS cluster head
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
The Western Cape Government condemns the Justice Department’s threat to criminally charge the head of the Mitchell’s Plain policing cluster, for expressing concern that gangsters are getting off with lenient sentences.
Referring to recent gang-related cases, Major-General Gregory Goss was quoted in the media as saying “what is the use of that hard work (from SAPS) if the Justice Department is just going to let criminals go”.
Provincial Head of the Justice Department, Adv. Hishaam Mohamed, in his public response, is quoted as saying “if (Goss) is trying to bring the department into disrepute, we will charge and prosecute him, because it is a crime to say such things”.
It is deeply worrying that a senior police official could be threatened with charges and prosecution for expressing concern about the functionality and efficacy of the criminal justice system.
While Major-General Goss’ remarks may have offended Adv. Mohamed, it does not mean that the concerns raised about the criminal justice system are baseless.
Earlier this year, Goss’ formal complaint regarding the investigation of his son’s murder case led to four police officers being investigated, and two state witnesses being charged with perjury.
The Community Safety Department’s Watching Briefs Unit, which monitors 25 courts across the province, has witnessed scores of cases thrown out of court because of inefficiencies, whether it be SAPS or the Justice Department who is at fault in each instance.
Ensuring that criminals face the full might of the law, requires every single link in the criminal justice system value chain to be beyond reproach.
The fact that representatives of two integral parts of the criminal justice system in the Western Cape are now publically at loggerheads, requires immediate remedial action.
As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province, I will today request that the Provincial Commissioner of Police provide me with a detailed briefing on the publicised differing of opinions, and threat of criminal prosecution against a police official.
I will also instruct my Department to officially request a briefing from the Provincial Development Committee (DEVCOM) on the inefficiencies within the entire criminal justice system. DEVCOM is a coordinating structure which includes SAPS, the NPA, Justice Department, provincial government and other stakeholders.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113