Popcru agree with ‘Spear’ magistrate

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IOL pic may23 zuma spear goodman gallery Associated Press Members of the press photograph the defaced portrait of President Jacob Zuma at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Police union Popcru agreed with a Hillbrow magistrate who berated police on Thursday in a court case arising from the defacing of a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma.

“The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union share the concern expressed by the said magistrate,” said spokeswoman Theto Mahlakoana.

“We can't have a situation where officers halt or slow down the delivery of justice unnecessarily, as expressed by the magistrate,” she said.

“Popcru believes South Africans deserve an effective justice system that involves the different components of the security cluster, and we cannot have a situation where one sector fails the entire machinery.”

Popcru appealed to police management to tackle this concern and called on police officers themselves to deliver effective services for a secure state. Comment from the police could not be immediately obtained.

Magistrate Johan Engelbrecht said the police had one last chance to complete their investigation, or the matter would be struck from the roll.

“This situation has reached alarming proportions,” he said at the appearance of the two accused in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court.

“I have become tired of complaining about the SA Police Service and their conduct on a daily basis,” he said, referring not just to the Spear case.

Barend la Grange and Louis Mabokela are accused of defacing artist Brett Murray's painting “The Spear” Ä an acrylic depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed. It was part of Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Prosecutor Frederik Bukes said a further postponement would be necessary. This was because the investigating officer had not complied with any of the instructions given at the previous proceedings of May 23.

The investigating officer was also not in court, Bukes said, to which Engelbrecht replied: “Of course”.

September 4 was suggested as the next court date.

Engelbrecht reacted by saying: “I am alarmed by the fact that the investigating officer has found it necessary to not make himself available today, and not explain why he didn't comply with the prosecutor's instructions.

“My concern is that the police in this area have lost their vision and have forgotten that they are there to serve the public.”

Engelbrecht said he would not hesitate to the strike the matter off the roll on September 4, if the situation remained the same. - Sapa


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