SAPS officers who made false racism claims to be sentenced
DURBAN - Two police officers who falsely accused a colleague of using the k-word will finally be sentenced on Friday and may face prison sentences, trade union Solidarity said on Thursday.
Warrant officers Sedisa Tikoe and Chris Mphana were convicted by the North West Regional Court in Stilfontein on charges that include crimen injuria, obstructing the course of justice, perjury and assault.
The case has gone on for three years.
The officers were found to have falsely accused lieutenant colonel Annemarie Oosthuizen of using the k-word, and threatened her with violence.
The officers made the accusations after Oosthuizen started a disciplinary process against them for failing to show up at work without permission or without taking leave.
Solidarity supported Oosthuizen throughout the process, it said, and welcomed the conviction.
“False accusations of using the k-word are increasingly being used as a weapon to avoid disciplinary action. Although not limited to the SAPS, there are several similar cases in the SAPS. The labour courts see a false charge of racism as racism and unfair discrimination. The criminal courts see it as a criminal offence and you can go to prison for that,” said Solidarity chief executive, Dr Dirk Hermann, via a statement.
The court heard that a former intern, Elizabeth Sechele, overheard Tikoe and Mphana planning to falsely accuse Oosthuizen of using the k-word.
Sechele testified in court that she was a mother herself and could not allow Oosthuizen to lose her job for an unlawful reason. She said her father encouraged her to do the right thing.
“The real hero in this case is Elizabeth Sechele. She showed that justice does not know colour. She stood up for the truth despite intimidation,” said Hermann.
Sentencing will take place in Stilfontein.
African News Agency