South African official denies 10 000 policemen in jail

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South Africa’s National police commissioner General Bheki Cele has caused panic in the country by revealing that more than 10 000 policemen were serving jail time countywide.

According to several media outlets in South Africa, Cele made the statement at the funeral of three Amersfoort police officers shot dead last week.

Cele is quoted saying “well over 10 000 police officers were in jail”, without saying how many had been sentenced and how many were awaiting trial prisoners.

The reports come at a time when police have been accused of mishandling murder cases, taking no action at all or even being involved in crimes.

Also many South African whites have been killed, especially Afrikaners, and they consider themselves target of blacks.

However, Cele’s spokesperson on Wednesday denied the figure.

Nonkululeko Mbatha said ‘This inaccurate figure has caused panic locally and internationally. Cele never spoke of 10 000 but went on record to say about 1 000”

The Independent Complaints Directorate said these statistics would be
released in September, reports say.

Information gleaned from newspapers say there is no up-to-date figure
on the number of police but speculate that it totaled nearly 200,000,
including reserves, by the late 1990s.

However, last week the same Cele reiterated the message that the police are ready to host the World Cup soccer showpiece.

“If you ask me today if we are ready, I will say ‘no’, and if you ask
me tomorrow if we are ready, I will again say ‘no’,” said Cele.

He is quoted saying that he believed, and was satisfied that the
tournament in South Africa would be safe.

“Out of 190 000 police officers in the country, 44 000 members will be
dedicated to 2010,” he said. “The rest of us will make sure that South Africa is safe.”

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