Cops slammed over shoddy investigation

GIYANI regional court magistrate Marie Viljoen has lashed out at the police at the Saselamani police station for shoddy work.

This after an accused facing three armed robbery and attempted murder charges was acquitted. The case involved a teacher and traditional leader Freddie Shikundu.

Viljoen acquitted Shikundu and his co-accused, Ali Macebele of Jerome, and Oupa Monareng, of Bushbuckridge, on Tuesday.

Before acquitting the three the magistrate slated the performance of the police officers who handled the case.

The three had been arrested in connection with armed robbery at Ntlhaveni Block C on October 1 last year and another at Nkavele bottle store on October 2.

After the incident at Block C police found a spent cartridge. Inspector Thomas Ngobeni of the Saselamani police station testified that the cartridge matched the firearm that was found in Shikundu's car when the three were arrested.

Viljoen said the police officers failed to take fingerprints to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had used the firearm.

She said the police officer who had rushed to the scene at Nkavele after the incident was also supposed to give evidence in court to strengthen the state's case but never did.

Saselamani police station has been in the spotlight in the past after members of the community marched to the station demanding that all the police officers be transferred and accusing them of colluding with criminals.

Since his arrest in October last year Shikundu. who is a schoolteacher at the Manghena Primary School, has been behind bars.

At the time of his arrest he was out on bail after being arrested and charged on several counts of fraud relating to tribal levies.

Police spokesperson Inspector Norman Matsimbi was surprised when Sowetan asked him about the acquittal of the three.

He said he was on leave and would comment later after gathering relevant information.