Police arrested 103 forensic analysts this week for taking part in an illegal gathering at the divisional headquarters of the Forensic Science Laboratory, --- situated on the premises of the old Andrew Malcolm Hospital in Arcadia, Pretoria.
The press is reporting that these analysts were protesting against alleged inaction by SAPS Criminal Record Centre (CRC) management in bringing to book those responsible for stealing narcotics from the laboratory, --- but there appears to be another darker side to this story - (pardon the pun).
The stolen drugs are valued at about R50 million, and were seized during police operations at Johannesburg's O.R Tambo International Airport between 2007 and 2008. The drugs were taken for testing and safe-keeping to the Pretoria Forensic Science Laboratory, where the entire consignment disappeared.
CCTV footage installed in the laboratory clearly showed a person stealing a consignment of drugs. This person, who is apparently employed in an administrative capacity (a dark chap), has since been promoted and has allegedly purchased a house valued at close to R3 million. The same person was allegedly implicated in a second incident in 2009 when sample bag numbers were switched. This individual is still employed by the Forensic Science Laboratory.
Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of police, Debbie Schafer, says the party is extremely outraged at the development.
There are strong rumours that the illegal strike and arrest of 103 forensic analysts this week, had nothing to do with the large consignment of drugs that were stolen, nor with the fact that the culprit caught on CCTV has not been arrested yet. The rumours appear to be plausible, as senior black officers from the Ballistic Unit also joined in the demonstrations with placards, demanding the immediate dismissal of Divisional Commissioner Piet du Toit. The majority of the black demonstrators were demanding promotions to senior ranks.
The order to immediately arrest the entire lot apparently came directly from National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele. The press reported that 83 forensic analysts were arrested, but the true figure is 103.
Press reports concerning this incident can be viewed at the following sources:
Related posts on this blog:
Chaos in the South African Police Service
Affirmative action knocked for a six
SA Police refuse to appoint white forensic experts