The DA has called for an investigation into what it said were cases of low conviction rates for those involved in organized crime in Gauteng, including those arrested for taxi industry violence.
In recent years, Tshwane has witnessed a spate of taxi industry violence in various areas of the metro, resulting in lives being lost.
DA Gauteng community safety spokesperson Michael Shackleton said he was “deeply concerned” that despite the high number of arrests by the Gauteng organized crime unit in the past three years, there was a low conviction rate.
He said he gleaned this from an answer by the Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng legislature.
“According to MEC Mazibuko, in the 2017-2018 financial year, 93 arrests were made in connection with taxi violence and of these, 24 resulted in convictions and only one resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment for the perpetrator.
“In the 2018-2019 financial year, 73 arrests were made of which 20 resulted in convictions and four received life imprisonment sentences.”
Shackleton said in the 2019-2020 financial year, 52 arrests for taxi violence were made with 14 resulting in convictions.
He said with regards to narcotics, 11 arrests were made in the 2017-2018 financial year, with four resulting in convictions, while in the 2019-2020 financial year, 22 arrests were made and 12 convictions secured.
“With regards to ATM bombings, 93 arrests were made in the 2017-2018 financial year but only 14 of the suspects were convicted, with two receiving sentences of life imprisonment.
“In the 2018-2019 financial year, 54 arrests were made for ATM bombings and of these arrests, 14 resulted in convictions with two arrests received sentences of life imprisonment,” he said.
Truck hijackings led to 116 arrests in the 2017-2018 financial year, with 36 convictions.
“In the 2018-2019 financial year, there were 136 arrests for truck hijackings and of these arrests, 42 resulted in convictions. In the 2019-2020 financial year, there were 87 arrests with 19 resulting in convictions.”
“It is very worrying that there is a low conviction rate which clearly indicates that it’s either the justice system that is failing to convict or the Gauteng organized crime unit is failing to properly investigate these cases.”
Shackleton said the lack of adequate investigations and specialists in cases of organized crime had resulted in many cases being struck off the court roll due to a lack of sufficient evidence that could lead to prosecutions.
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