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Court hands down suspended sentences for cops who made false claims of racism

Paul Ash Senior reporter
Two North West police officers are paying the price after falsely accusing a senior of making racist remarks.
Two North West police officers are paying the price after falsely accusing a senior of making racist remarks.
Image: Supplied

Two SA Police Service (SAPS) warrant officers who falsely accused their station commander of racism were on Friday handed 24-month suspended jail sentences for perjury by the Klerksdorp regional court in Stilfontein.

Warrant officers Sedisa Tikoe and Chris Mphana had accused Lt-Col Annemarie Oosthuizen, of using the k-word after she had instituted a disciplinary process against the two men in 2017 for failing to report for duty without permission.

The officers refused to sign the declarations and said Oosthuizen had racially abused them.

However, former police intern Elizabeth Sechele testified on Oosthuizen’s behalf while allegedly living in fear of her life, according to media reports.

The two officers were also found guilty of threatening Oosthuizen with violence.

Tikoe and Mphana were found guilty in June of crimen injuria, defeating the ends of justice, perjury and assault.

Both men were also fined R60,000 or three years’ imprisonment for crimen injuria, of which R30,000 and 18 months have been conditionally suspended for five years.

Tikoe was also given a 12-month suspended sentence for assault.

The state also requested that both men be declared unfit to possess firearms.

“The message is loud and clear,” said Renate Barnard, sector co-ordinator for the public sector at Solidarity.

“There is no place in the SAPS for racism or people playing the racecard to exonerate themselves and to falsely accuse other people in the process.”

Solidarity was “satisfied that justice has been done”, said Barnard.

The union still plans to pressure the SAPS to institute disciplinary action against Tikoe and Mphana as the police had allegedly failed to do so, even after their conviction.

The union said it was deeply concerned that the SAPS “has tolerated this unacceptable behaviour by some of its employees”.