Poor treatment at SAPS

Ratlou Mabula
TOM BURKE — In the voice note a police officer can be heard talking harshly to two young men who had apparently gone to open a case at Tom Burke police station.
In the clip a man is accusing the brothers of having been drinking during the day, spending time with girls and saying that their timing is very bad and repeatedly asking them where they work. “Where have you been the entire day? Why do you come this time? Must I help you in the middle of the night for an affidavit?” said the recorded voice.
When the other voice asks: “Is there a specific time for affidavits? I thought a police station operates 24/7” he responded by saying “to you they operate 24/7 and not here”.
The voice of the man kept asking provocative questions, blaming the two for coming to report late, being negligent and accusing them of wasting his time as he had ‘other important things to do’.
According to the Moatshe brothers it was around 23:00 on 16 April 2017 when they went to the police station to report a cell phone that had been stolen eight days earlier.
When they got there they allegedly met a police officer, identified as Constable Shikwambana, who repeatedly asked them why they went late to open an affidavit at his police station.
As the clip proceeds the voice of Thabo asks if a person enters a house and steals a cell phone what case should be opened? The officer responded with: “it is your decision”. If you were following the right procedures of a cell phone that was stolen you were supposed to do that. And you didn’t.” When asked which procedure has to be followed, he said the phone had to be blocked first before a case can be opened and if that didn’t happen police can’t assist them. He emphasised the need to follow blockage procedure.
Some of the verbal shots fired by the officer were:
* The younger brother had given the phone to a girlfriend instead of money.
* Thabo should let his employers know how incapable he is after leaving his employer’s cell phone with his brother.
* He didn’t have copies to help them write an affidavit and they should come back the following day.
* They just woke up and decided to open a case.
* They can’t be waking him up in the middle of the night to write an affidavit.
* They are old enough to know blockage procedure and how to report a case.
As he parted ways with them he said; “In future my brother, Thabo, come here to write an affidavit or certify during the day. Because if you come at a time like this (around 23:00) other officers will not allow you to do it. They will simply say you can come back tomorrow.
You are very fortunate that you found me here, and I explained everything well to you.”
Thabo Moatshe, who is a radio presenter for Lephalale FM and widely known as Catchvibe, says he had to hide his occupation to avoid it interfering with everything.
“My younger brother Samuel said he left the cell phone on a charger and someone removed it. He spent days looking for it and as he is not working he had no cash for transport to go to Tom Burke police station to report in time. The only option he had was to wait for me to drive him there” he said.
He told Mogol Post he felt the need to record the officer after realising that his attitude was very bad and he was not intending to help them.
“He just randomly asked us very silly questions without a note book to write on and after huge persuasion he finally helped us.
I can just imagine what other people go through with such officers who do not treat the public with respect”.
Tom Burke Police Station Commander Colonel Lesiba Mabote said procedurally if a member of the public has not been treated well by a police officer and can identify them he must look for a senior member there or the Station Commander to address the matter.
“If any community member needs something to be rectified he must bring a written complaint. We will then address the complaint with management. If there is a need for the member to be called for a strong warning, that will be done. There is also a suggestion box which we check daily and if we find a concern like that we attend to it” said Mabote.
He added that members of the community can go to Tom Burke SAPS anytime of the day for an affidavit and assistance with other relevant documents.
On the matter of when to report a case after an incident Col. Mabote says though police can ask for clarity as to why members of the public report cases late, they have to politely do so as there might have been possible challenges that resulted in a delay.

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