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Commission hears about incompetent detectives

Incompetent detectives and rampant absenteeism have been recurring themes at the Khayelitsha commission.

FILE: Khayelitsha Police Station. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Incompetent detectives and rampant absenteeism have been recurring themes at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into police inefficiency.

The commission was set up by Premier Helen Zille after a surge in vigilante killings and a breakdown in relations between the community and police.

After five weeks of scrutiny, the commission will take a break before resuming late next month, with recommendations expected in May.

High ranking officials from the three police stations in the area echoed each other as it came to light the qualifications and training standards of detectives are questionable especially around crime scene management.

These factors also contribute to the fact that at one station between 2007 and 2012, only half of all murder investigations made it to court and of those only 14.5 percent led to convictions.

Former head of detectives Andrew Tobias adds detectives are facing massive case loads.

"It can happen that there are incomplete investigations because they are human and make those types of errors. We address that."

On the issue of absenteeism, the commission heard that at one station, 204 members were off sick in one month.