Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
The arrest of 18 members of the disbanded Durban Organised Crime Unit will not affect police work, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Friday.
“We are not running short of any members in any divisions in the country. The SA Police service is not a regional service, it is a South African Service,” Mthethwa said.
He was speaking during a visit by Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, who met MECs for Safety to discuss and review the progress on crime.
Twenty officers of the unit were arrested in connection with alleged hit squad activities on Wednesday by the Hawks.
Charges against two officers were withdrawn on Thursday as they were part of the National Intervention Unit and not the organised crime unit.
“I don't think it will affect the morale of our members but we cannot claim they are unaffected,” Mthethwa said.
“Even if you know someone who has been alleged to have committed a crime, you keep your focus on the work.”
Phiyega said the department would ensure it created an enabling environment for police.
“We will do our best to keep them focused and energised,” she said.
The 18 policemen face 14 charges of murder, 14 of unlawful possession of ammunition, 14 of unlawful possession of firearms, and four of house breaking.
Also on the provisional indictment are 14 counts of defeating the ends of justice and 14 of unlawful possession of weapons and ammunition.
Phiyega said she was committed to the men and women in blue who had welcomed her into the department.
“There are many challenges but we are committed to the job; together we can make a difference,” she said.
Critics who said Phiyega could not do the job because she had no police experience spoke too soon, Mthethwa said.
“I'm sure she'll deliver on her mandate,” he said. - Sapa