President Jacob Zuma visits Nyanga police station. Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma visits Nyanga police station. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma is concerned about it being too easy for criminals to get off scot-free after they are arrested by police.

Zuma shared this observation while paying an unannounced visit to Nyanga Police Station in Cape Town – in a part of the city frequently referred to as the country’s "murder capital" due to its high rate of crime and killings.

His office said the visit was part of the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring programme to gain a first-hand account of work that is being done to fight crime in the area.

He sought out the views of police officials and members of the public at the station "to obtain their views on what can be done to bring about an end to crime and to encourage stronger partnerships in the fight against crime‚" said the presidency.

"To me it is a problem. We have the police and… we arrest criminals but it’s easy for the criminals not to be convicted. I think that’s a problem‚" said Zuma.

Zuma asked police what led to low conviction rates against the perpetrators of crime.

"Is it because they have got good lawyers? Or is because the law is not more in favour of the citizens or the law is weaker? I am trying to find out‚" he asked.

He said the country had a high crime rate and questioned whether it was the law or police officers who were failing.

Zuma said there had been complaints about weaknesses on the part of officers who compiled dockets‚ which contributed to a low conviction rate.

He said that cases were sometimes undermined when suspects were released from custody‚ on bail for example‚ resulting in witnesses being afraid to testify in court.

Zuma has himself faced charges‚ that were ultimately dropped on his journey to the presidency. - TMG Digital/The Times

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