Deepening confusion

Many will attest to being confused by the new twist in the saga of missing Pretoria policeman Bachipile Andrew Rapeta after claims by his wife that she was tortured by police desperate to establish the truth behind her husband's disappearance.

Many will attest to being confused by the new twist in the saga of missing Pretoria policeman Bachipile Andrew Rapeta after claims by his wife that she was tortured by police desperate to establish the truth behind her husband's disappearance.

One minute the nation had rallied in collective prayer and support for his wife, Sarah, anguished by the mystery disappearance of her husband eight weeks ago - the next it was convulsed with shock at the news of her emerging as a prime suspect in the case and allegedly having been tortured at the hands of his colleagues.

A very confusing turn of events, indeed.

Especially since the police had sent a chaplain to the family to offer them prayers and comfort before the incident.

Compounding matters are police denials of torture claims, which have obfuscated matters rather than clear the air.

If true, though, the latest development marks a low point for both family and police investigation, which will now be under suspicion of being punctuated by a Bible-and-the-gun approach.

Claims of police torture are invariably frowned on by the public, especially when the victim of such excesses is a woman. The police are expected to rely on ingenious methods of detection that preclude torture to solve cases.

Contrary behaviour by them is termed rogue or criminal, inviting both the wrath of the law and society.

When the police claim - as they often do - to have left no stone unturned in their investigations, a tacit understanding that this precludes employing torture or extra-judicial methods is paramount.

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