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'Khayelitsha detectives qualified, adequate'

Site B detective head Johan Marais says 60 detectives under his command are adequate.

Site B detective head Johan Marais says the 60 detectives under his command are adequate, despite heavy workloads.

CAPE TOWN - The head of detectives at the Site B police station in Khayelitsha has testified the 60 detectives under him are adequate and qualified despite heavy workloads.

Colonel Johan Marais was testifying at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into alleged police inefficiencies.

The commission, which was set up by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in 2012, was established to not only investigate police inefficiencies but also probe an alleged breakdown in the relationship between residents and police.

Marais says it is unfair for Khayelitsha to be compared to the Cape Town City Centre.

He says the situation in Khayelitsha is much worse.

"I cannot see how a station like Khayelitsha can be compared to Cape Town Central. Although Cape Town Central receives 2,500 dockets a month, the type of dockets they investigate are shoplifting, theft from motor vehicles, common robbery and maybe one murder in three months."

He says, "We have weekends where from Friday night to Sunday morning we have seven murders. They've got 110 detectives and I have 60. I don't think it's fair and I don't think it's right."

POLICE ALCOHOLISM

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry heard more damning testimony about officers in the area.

Marais told the commission uncompetitiveness, lack of accountability and even alcoholism, run rampant.

He said he was handpicked to lead the unit in January 2012 as it was in a state of crisis.

Marais said of a staff complement of 68 detectives, many of them were incompetent and others seemed to have a problem with alcohol.

Marais, whose work experience includes training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), echoed Khayelitsha Station Commander Zithulele Dladla's sentiments that absenteeism is a huge problem.

But he says over the past three years, the situation has improved.