Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Gerald Clough » Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:08 am

Pat A. Wertheim wrote:I do not understand how two suits can be joined when the plaintiff in one suit is the defendant in the other. And since the point about the same experts testifying in both trials applies to these experts testifying on behalf of Fred van der Vyver, the only person to save money by joining the suits would be Fred. But if the suits are joined, then most likely Fred would present his case first, which would allow the Lotzes the unusual advantage of presenting their case as plaintiff against Fred after he has presented his case.


It might not be as strange or unfair as it sounds. I don't know how civil cases are conducted in S.A. Is it a jury trial or just before a judge? In civil cases in the U.S., all witnesses are commonly deposed well before any trial, so both sides know pretty much what the other witnesses will say and can tailor their arguments accordingly. And all the exhibits have been shared. I suspect that in this one, both sides will be using pretty much the same witnesses, and it will be only a matter of who begins the questioning of each. And as the trial proceeds, there's so much back and forth that order won't mean much.

I wonder if anything will come of this application. If the judge approves it contingent on both sides agreeing on issues of how the respective and mixed roles of plaintiff and respondent will be played out, it may be difficult to get agreement. It's hard to judge from media quotes, but I sense that the Lotz side is not hopeful of being allowed to join. Publicly trying to cast van der Vyver as seeking to delay justice if he opposes it represents it as a "we're all in this for the same thing" matter, which it decidedly is not. I suspect they have already had their answer from his counsel.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby WRoughead » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:03 pm

In the absence of blood splatter, which would normally be associated with the kind of head injuries Inge sustained. Did the scene of crime officers, use any other substance such as Luminol around that living room? I apologize if this has already been discussed, and appears obvious.

It seems to me that the tiny lightweight hammer could not have caused the type of injuries to her skull that she sustained. In addition, if it were the murder weapon, surely there would have been splatter? If it was something thicker and much heavier, say for example a sledgehammer, the splatter might have been less, but certainly, the damage great, and would be consistent with the damage to her head, I would have thought.

Nothing like that was discovered at the crime scene, but it could have been removed.

At the moment, I am thinking outside the box.

Faced with the evidence, or rather the lack of it and motive, I am at a loss to reason why the Lotz family do not want the real killer caught, they would seem to have made their minds up that it is her boyfriend despite the facts.

It has to be borne in mind that all of their information has come to them mainly from the police of course.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby pottoman » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:22 pm

Pat A. Wertheim wrote:
Like the McKie case almost ten years ago, this one just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Will this go on for another decade, too?

Let's hope not!



As an exercise in public relations this latest effort by Dani Cohen is a case study in itself.

PR is all about marketing a product, an image, a brand, an idea through careful and strategic use of the media in such a way as to leverage maximum public support.
A skilful PR exponent knows exactly how to get his message delivered with the greatest impact and in order to achieve this, besides the prerequisite trust and mutual respect with professional colleagues, he must know his brief inside out and do his homework.

It is becoming increasingly obvious to both editors and public alike that Cohen does neither.

Misquoting Hamlet and then attributing it to Macbeth in an earlier media release was perplexing enough. Was this girl really this dumb or was she in fact an über-clever brainiac who wanted everyone to just think she was stupid ?

Her incoherent raving since then seems to have answered that particular question comprehensively enough for the majority of observers.

So what of this latest offering, was her client even aware of it ? Did Professor Lotz actually instruct her to tell the world so unambiguously that Fred van de Vyver’s ornamental hammer actually was the murder weapon after all, in spite of all available evidence to the contrary ?

Is this a case of ‘we’ll say whatever we like because the bugger will never dare sue us’….have they actually stooped this low ?

And if this is the case then do they honestly believe that sometime between now and when hell freezes over that the van de Vyver’s will actually join them in the Cape High Court in order to facilitate the civil conviction of Fred himself ?

On the one hand we have the Lotz’s suing Fred for X million since they believe he is responsible for the death of their daughter, and on the other we have the van de Vyver’s suing the State for X x 5 million since they doggedly believe he was wrongly and maliciously prosecuted in the first place.

Now aside from the blindingly obvious reality that the two issues are so entirely disparate that no self-respecting senior Judge (and he/she would have to be very senior indeed) would ever consider volunteering to get involved in this unholy can of worms, there must first be agreement by the two parties before any such joining can even be considered.

And for the answer to that one we must turn (with thanks to Pat for the post link) to Saturday’s Cape Argus and see what Fred van de Vyver’s attorney, Dup de Bruyn had to say on the matter: “ he was not aware of the Lotz application to join the two hearings”..

Now Dup is a Grand Master of the dark art of media manipulation and whether he actually knew or not is entirely irrelevant. Simply by claiming ignorance of the matter he seizes in one deft comment the moral high ground in the mind of the reader who is obviously then left thinking:

Didn’t the Lotz’s even bother to consult the van de Vyver’s before making this public announcement ?

Meanwhile Dani Cohen and her crew whack off another $10,000 bill to the hapless Professor Lotz who, shamefully, it must be said, is no nearer finding the truth as to who killed his daughter than he was exactly a year ago.

And the van de Vyver’s ?

Well of course they just sit this one out, keep their heads down and let their legal team kick this ball into the long grass where it belongs.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby pottoman » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:36 am

pottoman wrote:

Didn’t the Lotz’s even bother to consult the van de Vyver’s before making this public announcement ?



I was chatting to a very senior member of the South African judiciary yesterday who confirmed my view that this latest move by the Lotz family is doomed to failure. Firstly, he said, there is a manifest conflict of interest between the two parties and secondly the Lotz's are clearly prejudiced against Fred who, as everyone knows by now, they feel is responsible for the death of their beloved daughter Inge. Two very basic reasons why joining the two cases cannot ever be achieved.

What he then said was interesting indeed: There is a growing perception that this tragic murder is shamefully being used as a political football which is being kicked about between the opposing families under the gaudy spotlight of the world’s media doing no credit whatsoever to anyone involved.

Now if that is what he and his legal friends now believe, imagine what is going on in the minds of Joe Public ?

Cohen & crew must surely know this, how could they not….so what are they really playing at ?

There are one or two possibilities here. One, this latest tactic is diversionary and they have something of seismic significance up their sleeve. Two, the Lotz's don’t actually have a cohesive plan at all and are simply being milked of their savings by a particularly ill-chosen team of legal advisers. A team who see a plump gravy train rolling along upon which they can ride, like others in the McKie case, for many, many years to come.

I do not subscribe to the theory that Cohen is about to dazzle us all with her strategic brilliance.

If the Lotz's genuinely have new evidence and therefore a solid case against Fred in the Civil Court then they must proceed. They do not necessarily need a complete retrial. They do not necessarily need to break his alibi. They do not necessarily need to revisit the DVD-print evidence and therefore they won't necessarily need to go over all the old ground and call in expert testimony from around the world in support of it.

All they have to do is put Fred at the scene of the crime and if they have the goods to do that then there are plenty of capable professionals in South Africa to help them make their case.

If it is indeed the Lotz’s game plan to have Fred van de Vyver found responsible in a Civil Court for the murder of their child, then it is clearly at odds with the van de Vyver’s game plan of winning a hefty settlement from the State for wrongful and malicious prosecution.

But now consider this: If the van de Vyvers are right and with the resources available to them and indeed to the Lotz's themselves, why have they not set up a joint fund to finance a highly competent private investigation tasked with the job of identifying Inge's killer ?

Why hasn't Louis van de Vyver sat down with Professor Jan Lotz over a few beers and said: 'Look man let’s bury the hatchet for a while shall we. I know my boy didn't do this terrible thing but I also know that you are never going to believe this unless or until the real killer is caught. And until that happens my son and my family must continue to live under this shameful cloud of suspicion every day of our lives. In the end we'll both end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to the blerrie lawyers so here's what I'm prepared to do. Here's a cheque for $50,000 , now I want you to match it and we'll put all our cards on the table and hire the best international PI's we can find to get at the truth. When the killer is found my son gets his reputation and life back and you get justice for Inge, we both win…. what do you say ?"

Now that surely would be a genuinely constructive pooling of resources.

And although it would undoubtedly precipitate an apoplectic retort from Ms Cohen et al, one that nevertheless Dup de Bruyn would, I am sure, find to be an eminently sensible way forward.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Truthseeker » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:39 pm

Pottoman said:

If the Lotz’s genuinely have new evidence … then they must proceed.

I say:

If the Lotz’s have new evidence where did it suddenly come from?

There was a press statement by Fred van de Vyver’s lawyer on 23 May where they said that the Lotz legal team informed them: “There are no new material facts upon which the plaintiffs intend to rely.”

Looking back to the latest Cohen concoction, it also says they estimate overlap of 90% of the evidence to be led. Cohen also says the two current civil actions require findings on the same facts, witnesses and disputes…

If they are to be believed, I don’t think we can expect any new evidence.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby pottoman » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:11 am

Truthseeker wrote:
I say:

If the Lotz’s have new evidence where did it suddenly come from?


You may well ask where did it ‘suddenly’ come from…I can’t answer that except to say that it is common knowledge that a great deal of vital forensic evidence was, in varying stages: missed and/or misplaced, overlooked, contaminated and/or destroyed etc, etc, etc in those important few hours and days after the discovery of the body.

Proper procedural chain of custody of any such 'new' evidence, if indeed any such new evidence exists, will be a vital factor to establish for the Prosecution because Defence will sure as hell want to know where its been all these years !

Maybe they’ve got something else, maybe not. If the overlap is, as Cohen says, 90%, then that still leaves a good margin to ‘play with’.

But I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Personally I think the Lotz’s are being taken for a ride here, especially if they have been told that they can lead with the same old evidence and get a ‘balance of probabilities’ verdict in the Civil Court. Fred’s team will have seen that one coming a mile off and be exceptionally well prepared.

Much better to go down the joint investigative fund route, let the two families call a cease fire and put their collective heads together to find the real killer.

Remember that the van de Vyvers are on record as saying how much they loved Inge and by the same token the Lotz’s felt the same way about Fred.

The two youngsters were due to be joined in holy matrimony were they not, a solemn bond that would have united both families for years to come.

Except everything has changed and so now we have this objectionable and demeaning public spectacle that is not only shaming both families but dishonouring the sacred memory of the deceased.

I do not understand why a joint-investigative initiative has not been proposed before and been given the unqualified support and blessing of all concerned.

Pat has repeatedly called for three things, all of which I applaud.

I have three of my own:

1) Put the money-grabbing lawyers out to pasture for the time being.
2) Get rid of the bungling and entirely superfluous PR people.
3) Set up a joint private investigation and get this case solved !!

Tragically Inge is dead and nothing can bring her back. Finding the killer can only in a very small way make life for Mr & Mrs Lotz a little less unbearable.

The big winner when the real killer is caught will, of course, be Fred van de Vyver. Not only does he gets his young life back on track, but by finding the killer he gets the ultimate proof positive to show that he was so maliciously prosecuted in the first place. His legal team will then be in a totally unassailable position to demand compensation from the guilty authorities involved.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Pat A. Wertheim » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:36 am

I am not deeply knowledgable in South African civil law, so Truthseeker or pottoman, please correct me if I am wrong. When Dani Cohen filed the Lotzes' lawsuit against Fred, the basis was "new evidence." Fred's lawyer filed a court motion requiring disclosure of this "new evidence." The Lotzes were required to answer the motion and disclose their reasons for believing Fred killed Inge. Their list included fingerprints, footwear, and weapon -- all thoroughly discredited as fabricated evidence. There was no "new evidence." Simply none. Here's my question: Since that disclosure was filed in response to a court order, can any other "new evidence" be used in the Lotzes' civil suit?

I don't think so. And if not, what chance is there for the Lotzes' civil suit to succeed? Since all of the evidence was proven to be fabricated, I would think Fred's suit has an almost certain chance of success. But not the Lotzes.

Truthseeker's name says it all. What is the truth here? Not the Lotzes' truth or Fred's truth, but the real truth? It seems to me the police have no interest in finding out. But in South Africa, private investigators have a place in the criminal justice system that they do not have in the US. So pottoman's suggestion makes a great deal of sense. After all, the cost of hiring a top-notch team of investigators would ultimately be paid from the proceeds of Fred's lawsuit. In effect, the police would pay for doing right that which they did not do right the first time.

My fear is that the Lotzes would never agree to cooperate with the van der Vyvers in such an endeavor. Perhaps if the van der Vyvers had approached the Lotzes immediately after Inge's murder, or even the day after Fred's arrest, the two families could have joined forces. I wish I thought both sides could join forces now. I believe the van der Vyvers would be amenable to such an alliance, but from what I read in the press on the internet, I am not sure the Lotzes could be convinced to go along with such a plan at this late date. Still, it seems the only way to get at the truth, catch the killer, and bring some poor substitute for justice to Inge.

Maybe the funding of such an investigation could include donations from other families and businesses associated with the Lotzes and the van der Vyvers. Maybe that would allow a team of investigators to be retained now rather than later.

Perhaps I should modify my three "demands:"
1. Deal with the crooked cops for what they are -- criminals themselves.
2. Reimburse the van der Vyvers for their expenses defending against fabricated evidence.
3. If the police won't reopen the investigation, open a private investigation of a quality and intensity never before seen in South Africa.

Either do those three things or let this case develop into the type debacle the McKie case has become -- a worldwide embarrasment of a corrupt police system.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Pat A. Wertheim » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:55 am

Running all this over in my mind after my last post, the thought popped into my mind, "What of Werner Carolus?"

It seems from the tone of things that most people believe his confession was false. The question then is, why did he confess? Was he looking for notoriety? But some of his details seemed to have been incontrovertible proof that he knew more than he had read in the newspapers. Was he working then intentionally as a red herring to distract attention from the real killer? If so, on whose behalf did he become involved?

He has nothing to gain by talking to the police, if indeed they would listen to him anymore anyway. But he might be the best place to start a private investigation. Why did he confess? What does he know? Was there some heretofore unknown link between him and Inge? If confessing was not an original thought in his meth-addled brain, who planted the idea there? Was he paid to confess, either in cash or drugs or other consideration?

We don't know the killer's motive, but we know that the violence was consistent with the type of irrational anger usually only seen in very close relationships. The wounds and violence were not consistent with a stranger or a burglar stumbling onto a resident. Also, the evidence indicates the killer was known to Inge. The scene also has some characteristics that make it appear staged, at least to some degree. Surely, even if much forensic evidence was lost by incompetent crime scene investigation at the outset, there are still avenues to follow for a team of experienced expert investigators.

Truthseeker? Pottoman? Any of our other South African friends?
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Iain McKie » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:40 am

Hi Pat,

There is an old police/lawyer trick when the pressure is on you - get the victims to fall out - divide and conquer.

It seems clear that the only people benefiting from the tragic ‘fall out’ between these two traumatised families are the Police and other prosecution authorities who can now hope to hide behind this controversy.

As you and others have suggested what a turn up it would be if they were able to turn their loss and pain into a positive force concentrated on identifying the killer(s) and the crooked authorities who allowed them their freedom.

Interestingly in the current Fingerprint Inquiry you will notice that efforts are being made to bring Marion Ross’s relatives into conflict with myself. A clear sign of the desperation being felt by the SCRO experts and their supporters as the noose tightens.

As for the Ross family I hope with all my heart that both the Lotz and Van de Vyver families find a truth that helps them come to terms with the awful loss they have suffered.

Be assured however the prosecution system will seek only to thwart this goal. Only their own bravery and determination and the integrity of those experts who are not prepared to stand by and watch injustice flourish will bring this about.

Best wishes,

Iain
As always my thanks to all experts who have supported Shirley over the years.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby Truthseeker » Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:47 pm

Wise words indeed, Iain. Very wise words.

As your own website states:

Nobody fears the truth, except those whom the truth would indict.

Best of luck, no, may the truth be with you during the inquiry.

Pat, Re: Civil law in South Africa - Its voluminous! However, there may be technical arguments against many aspects of the Lotz case. One could even question if the SA constitution doesn't possibly protect someone like Fred against an action such as this.

Now I just have a question for pottoman:

Did you go to the party, as I suggested?
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby WRoughead » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:45 pm

I hope Pottoman replies, so that we can all discover if he got to the party.

It's cruel to keep us guessing.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby david klatzow » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:37 am

Hi All,

I have been following the events with some interest. I am taking the liberty of including some breaking news.




Yengeni found not guilty
05/12/2008 14:52 - (SA)


DA goes after Yengeni cops

Cop: Yengeni cover-up ordered

Yengeni admitted driving drunk

Yengeni trial postponed

Cop lied about Yengeni arrest

'We won't tolerate this nonsense'


Cape Town - Former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni was on Friday found not guilty on a drunken driving charge by the Goodwood Magistrate's Court.

He appeared before Magistrate Ricardo Phillips, who granted an application for Yengeni's acquittal and discharge, launched by the defence team's senior counsel Dirk Uijs and attorney Mario Wilker.

Phillips agreed that due to the poor manner in which the case had been investigated, Yengeni did not have a case to meet.

Two arresting police officers had unlawfully obeyed instructions from the then commander at the Goodwood police station, senior superintendent Siphiwo Hewana, to "orchestrate an advantage favourable to the accused". This amounted to defeating the ends of justice.

The judgment was delivered during the lunch hour. Yengeni supporters seated in the gallery clapped loudly when the magistrate informed Yengeni that he was free to go.

- SAPA


What seems to be a blatant and wholesale dabasement of the justice system in South Africa is playing itself out in trials such as the Yengeni Drunk driving trial.
Police officers who have been appointed purely on racist lines and who see their role not to maintain law and order for all, but to uphold a political system come what may are not uncommon in this country. The Yengeni matter is but one. It happened in the days of apartheid and the new government has done nothing to change matters.
A recent PhD thesis on polioce corruption estimates that about 10% across the board of our police force is corrupt. It is much higher in some pockets and lower in others. (this is probably a conservative figure).
Our forensic science labs have been thoroughly demoralized by rampant political interference.


In the case of the Lots Murder, the police were undoubtedly under pressure to crack the case. The travesty that followed is explicable in terms of;
1 Poor police competancy levels.
2 deficiency in integrity levels throughout all aspects of the prosecution case,
3 Lack of accountability of the police force in this country for many years
4 A failure by the senior authorities to punish official wrongdoers
5 An "old boys network" amoung the state officials that discourages whislte blowers.
6 And an inability by official agencies in this country to admit fault however obvious the problem is.

The recent indications that the Lots family intend joining the Van der Vyver trial may come to naught. The paramount consideration will in my view be whether the van der Vyvers are in any way disadvantaged by the process. If by joining the 2 matters, Fred loses any procedural advantage that he may have had in the unjoined trial, then it is my view that the court should rule against joining.
There is law already in place in this system which sets out the issues with clarity. If I am not mistaken there is a judgement By Corbett CJ which is in point.

I am confused as to how the matter against Fred by the family of the deceased is going to play out. The forensic evidence lead in the criminal matter was comprehensively rubbished by the defence. In my view it is un-fixable. The problems on the fingerprint, the hammer and footprint are riddled with such technical ,evidentiary and credibility problems as to make them a liability rather than an asset to anyone who wishes to rely on them.

The issues surrounding Carolus need to be ventilated much more than they have been.
The silence of the police concerning the search for Inge's killer is very concerning.
The sly way in which the prosecution blocked witnesses who could have testified on Fred's alibi needs public censure.
The conflict between what Bartholomew told the investigating officer and what Bodziak actually said to him requires investigation in terms of what appears to be an attempt to defeat the ends of justice.
The failure of the prosecution to inform the defence about the conflict between Bartholomew and Bodziak is in the same category.
In our law the prosecutors have an over-riding duty to see that justice is done, and not to play a silly game to get a conviction at all costs.

Yes the whole sorry saga illustrates what happens when integrity is in short supply.
Sadly as the Yengeni matter illustrates yet again we are not through with this problem.

With regard to the weapon used, the blood spatter evidence was very poorly documented at the scene. Cast off patterns were not shown in any of the photographs that I have in my possession. The frenzied attack with 2 weapons needs much more analysis, than it has been accorded so far.

Earlier on in the posting a question was asked about the public opinion of Fred's guilt or innocence. The short answer to this is that those people who have read the transcript and the judgement are in no doubt of the innocence of Fred van der Vyver. The lay public who are largely swayed by subjective emotions are of the view that he got off on a technicality. People who know my involvement often ask me about the aforegoing and from the 30 or 40 instances in which that has happened the uninformed think that Fred killed Inge.



It is with some interest that I await the legal outcomes.
In The mean time a safe and happy festive season to all.
Regards,
David Klatzow
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby david klatzow » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:41 am

Hi all,

sorry I spelled Lotz with an s Please accept my humble aplologies.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby WRoughead » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:07 am

David

What you have stated here is fascinating. As for what the public think. I am sure in your country, as in other countries, including here in the UK, most of the public get their ‘facts’ from the media including newspaper reports. This will be what they form their own opinions upon. I have seen it so many times.

If members of the public were given access to trial transcripts, [assuming they would be interested enough] then I am sure whether someone has been found guilty or not, they would at least have a more informed opinion – if you see what I mean. Almost as if, they were serving on the jury itself.

I remain utterly amazed at the explanation surrounding the blood spatter, and frenzied attack upon this poor girl. Her ordeal can only be imagined. If she knew her killer, she probably let him or her into the apartment, maybe even sharing a meal.

I am not naïve, but I have to say that whether shoddy police work is involved, or where the police feel the need to quickly clear up a case for political reasons is concerned, that they still fail to do what they are paid for. They have allowed a killer to go free. What can possibly be gained by that?

I find your input on here very interesting.
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Re: Evidence Fabrication in South Africa

Postby pottoman » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:25 am

This op-ed, By Professor David Klatzow, appeared in the Cape Argus almost 2 weeks ago, I think it deserves a much wider audience:

Stop whining Mbete - lack of skills is your government's fault


By David Klatzow


The article "Police intelligence lacks skills - Mbete" published in the Cape Argus on December 2 cannot pass without comment.

In it the deputy president Baleka Mbete bemoaned the lack of crime intelligence in the police service, saying the sector was in desperate need of more highly skilled personnel.

She goes on to say, "We need highly skilled personnel in this unit and to recruit advanced skills and expertise in detecting crime."

Clearly, although she may not realise it, this includes the Forensic Science Services (FSS). It also includes the skilled personnel required to do detective work, which is the cornerstone of any police investigation.

Let us examine the reasons for this lamentable position.

Over the last 14 years there has been a systematic denuding of the FSS by means of the political interference of people who do not understand what they are doing.

The recruitment policies and the aggressive affirmative action in the police service have resulted in skilled officers of every rank leaving the police service for almost anything else that they can do.

The FSS is bereft of skills, is demoralised and is in the state we have warned about in many previous articles - facing collapse.

The courts have complained bitterly about the poor forensic science and detective skills that are available to assist them.

The unbelievable travesty that passed as a prosecution in the Inge Lotz murder trial is testimony to the lack of skills available in the police service and the forensic science unit which assisted - or which were supposed to assist - the court.

In that particular instance, the police were lucky to get off with the mild rebuke that Judge Deon van Zyl found necessary to give them.

In reality, they deserved much harsher censure because the prosecution proceeded with a lack of competence that was breathtaking, the forensic science that was led was dishonest and the entire exercise was a parody of what it should have been.

In her recent PhD thesis, Liz Grobelaar estimates that approximately 10% of police are corrupt. I think that that may be an underestimate.

The interference by government, by way of aggressive affirmative action and by appointing people who are unqualified to positions which they are unable to fulfil, is extremely destructive, particularly in the FSS.

It has become clear that the FSS in the Cape is unable to cope with its workload.

Yes, Ms Deputy President, you are right. The police intelligence lacks skills and this lack of skills is due to the meddling of politicians.

Your party has created a situation in this country where Lysenkoism is rampant.

Your government appoints people on a political and colour basis and you take no account of their ability to actually do the job.

This is a recipe for disaster. It is a recipe that you have been warned about on numerous occasions but you have failed to heed the warnings.

You, as the captain of the Titanic, have to understand that when there is a warning about icebergs in the water, the remedy is not to increase speed.

When you call for recruitment of advanced skills, do you mean just black skills or do you mean skills for their own sake, irrespective of colour or creed?

Your answer to that question would be illuminating.

Those excellent police officers who remain in service are shamed on a daily basis by the nonsense that is going on in this country and in the service. They are demoralised by the dishonest people who abound in the police service and the incompetence of police management.

That we are in crisis is amply illustrated, yet again, by the outcome of the Tony Yengeni drunk driving trial. The climate in which senior police officers allegedly conspired to defeat the ends of justice confirms the findings in Liz Grobelaar's thesis.

I read recently that the government has indicated that it intends to take 200 matrics and train them as forensic scientists. This is not feasible. You might as well take 200 matrics and train them to be brain surgeons.

The requirements for being an adequate forensic science officer are far greater than merely taking a bunch of matrics and training them in the hopes that they will provide some kind of pseudo-scientific remedy and panacea to the acute crisis we face.

If you would like some advice, Ms Deputy President, the first thing that you should do is to appoint people who are competent, irrespective of their colour or creed.

We were hoping to move out of a racist South Africa into a non-racial rainbow nation. I still harbour hope that this will come to pass.

The second thing you need to do is to make certain that those people who work on the FSS are competent and able to do the job, which requires training of a very high level. Training in the FSS has sometimes been dodgy. That must change immediately.

You require tertiary education in order to be an adequate forensic scientist. And you also require skills and training that go beyond that tertiary education - a BSc or BSc Honours degree will give you only the language with which to start to understand forensic science.

Thirdly, you need to make certain that the advancement policies and the career paths of people in the police service are not tainted by the racist policies which your government has put in place over the last few years.

It is time to abandon all this nonsense about quotas and it is time to make certain that the country is served by people who are not racially motivated, who are adequately qualified, who are properly trained and, above all, who have integrity.

These would be good starting points and we would not need to have you whining about the lack of skills in the police service because all of this has come about largely as a result of the government's own foolish doings.


David Klatzow is a private consulting forensic scientist.

Published on the web by Cape Argus on December 11, 2008.
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© Cape Argus 2008. All rights reserved.
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