Call for special police unit to investigate

Selby Makgotho andTebogo Tshipi

Selby Makgotho andTebogo Tshipi

The police should improve the way they search for missing persons and should start searching as soon as someone is reported missing.

This is one of the recommendations in a 25-page report released by Limpopo's Premier Sello Moloto yesterday.

The report also recommends that the police set up a permanent specialised investigating unit that would be responsible for investigating ritual murder cases in the province.

Moloto appointed a task team in June to investigate 47 ritual murders in the Vhembe district.

When the police dockets were re-examined, it was found that only three of the 47 cases could be classified as involving ritual murder.

The other 44 cases involved suicides, culpable homicides and common murders.

The report listed several cases, dating back to 1994, that the police abandoned on the grounds that they had insufficient evidence with which to proceed.

Police investigators had to rely on the family members of victims to obtain evidence.

The report said it was difficult to obtain credible information from community members because ritual murders were often carried outas secret ceremonies.

The report recommended that an education drive be launched to fight ritual killings in the province.

The campaign would involve the moral regeneration movement, law enforcement agencies, religious organisations and civil society.

The report recommended that a provincial conference on ritual murders be convened to look deeper into its causes.

The conference has been scheduled for November 17.

The National Prosecuting Authority and the police said the report should give priority to investigating cases about which communities have serious concerns.