Saturday, November 7, 2009

We will shoot you dead, cops tell mom

7 November 2009, 09:52

A Joburg mother has been left wary of trigger-happy police after being warned that she could be shot dead if she drove her car.

Aadielah Maker's car was stolen from her Kensington driveway a month ago. On the same day, it was recovered in Jabulani, Soweto.

It had been with the insurance company for the past four weeks. When it was returned to her eight days ago, police had still not removed her car from the stolen list.

The Kensington resident said police had told her they would not be held responsible if they found her driving her car.

Maker's concerns come as the Independent Complaints Directorate investigates at least four cases of murder and three cases of attempted murder by police who implemented the "shoot to kill" directive by police bosses.

In the latest case, Atteridgeville police allegedly shot dead 21-year-old Kgothatso Ndobe when they went to his house to question him.

In Mpumalanga, the Matsulu community alleged that two people were shot dead by police officers during a weekend raid that turned violent.

And in October, 28-year-old Olga Kekana was shot dead and three occupants were wounded when Tshwane police shot at their vehicle, which they had mistaken for a stolen car.

In Maker's case, police allowed her to drive her car for two days last week before warning her that, if found in her car, she would be shot.

Officers at Jabulani police station in Soweto, where the car was found, handed the car over to the insurance company but never took it off the stolen list. It was only this week, four weeks after the incident, when Maker went to Cleveland police station to delist the car, that they issued the warning.

"No one tells me 'Don't drive your car'. My kids and everyone are in the car. What if I just drove and I never did the clearance? Would the cops have shot me with all the kids in the car?" she said.

"The first thing they say when I get to the station is 'You can't drive your car. Any policeman can shoot you and we won't take responsibility if you are shot'."

Maker then became caught up in the red tape of trying to track down the policeman who could delist the car. It was only on Wednesday this week that she managed to have her car removed from the list.

But Maker is not yet out of the woods, as she needs to do a final vehicle clearance at the police's centre in Roodepoort.

And to add insult to injury, the theft of her car had come just two weeks after her car window had been smashed in Hillbrow - and officers in four police cars had ignored her on that occasion, she said.

"I was crying, and I drove past four police cars and no one stopped to ask me what was wrong and if they could help.

"You could clearly see that something had happened.

"Eventually, when the cops in one of the cars saw me at a robot, they asked me what had happened.

"It has been two weeks in a row that I have had a bad experience with the police. I don't hold them in very high regard right now.

"I felt like 'what's the point of getting the car back?' I have to go through all the insurance issues and the secondary trauma of getting it back.

"Police don't explain anything. Most people get a fright when they get stopped by cops. I don't know what they would have done. It was a bit freaky and scary.

"We try to be moral citizens and we believe we need to do whatever we need so that the system works, but when it fails you, what is the message you send? It is confirmation that the system doesn't work," Maker said.

Provincial police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said he could not comment on the statements made by the police unless they were a complaint, made under oath in writing.

Dlamini said it was usual practice for the insurance company to remove the vehicle from the stolen vehicle register.

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini said they were not able to tell if the cases seen at the directorate were as a result of political "shoot to kill" statements.

"It is highly speculative at the moment. Everyone wants to link the statements to the deaths. There has been an increase in the past two to four years, so how can you only blame the statements?

"In the future we will investigate the causes of these cases, and the statements are one aspect we will look into."

•This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on November 07, 2009

Saturday Star

Comments by Sonny

How can the SAPS release a 'stolen car' before cancelling it off their system?

Once the owner signed for the car the SAPS are liable for what happens to the owner on the road.

It's similar to all these 'cloned' cars with the same police stamps on them!

Who is responsible for this dysfunctional attitude towards their jobs!

When will this corruption end?

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