The national police department has denied that police documents thought to be part of important investigations had been found in a plastic bag at a dump site in the Steenberg police station precinct.
Two weeks ago Ward 68 councillor Marita Petersen came across discarded remnants of torn up confidential documents amongst a pile of garbage and took to social media to shed light on the matter.
Ms Petersen questioned why they had been discarded and dumped at a dumping site in Elgar Street behind to the police station. Ms Petersen said it wasn’t the first time this had happened and said she reported it to the station management but said the dumping of the documents continued.
“I engaged the Colonel for three weeks and it continued happening. There was also pockets of rape kits and dagga found. There were also labelled exhibit pieces. I told them that their ‘waste’ is being discarded of improperly,” said the councillor.
In an interview the provincial minister of for community safety and police oversight said he was deeply concerned about the discovery: “It’s not the first time that this particular occurrence happens in Steenberg. It’s the third time within a space of 40 days.
“I want this investigation to be done as swiftly as possible any such officer that is found to be corrupt or that has not followed the prescripts in terms of how to handle the evidence should be investigated and, once a conclusion has been reached, ultimately be dismissed.”
When Southern Mail questioned Steenberg police station commander Colonel Jan Alexander about the documents, he referred the enquiry to the national office because it was under investigation.
At the time of the discovery, provincial police spokesperson, Captain Frederick Van Wyk, confirmed that the management of Steenberg police station was aware of the matter and that the circumstances were being investigated.
“Once this process has been finalised, this office will be in a far better position to provide further comment regarding the matter,” he said.
He added at the time that preliminary investigations had revealed that there were no case dockets among the waste material that was found discarded.
Last week Lieutenant-General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, the country’s new national police commissioner confirmed the discovery of the plastic bag but denied that there were any admissible evidence, police dockets or used rape kits found.
The head of police said he had seen the bag himself and could confirm its content but said it was nothing admissible. He also referred to a specific document which he said was “probably a rough draft”.
“When officers write out affidavits they make mistakes. When you write, you will always write some rough notes. You can’t keep the rough notes.”
He admitted, however, that the manner of disposal of these documents was questionable.
“Yes, according to policy it wasn’t disposed of properly because you need to shred it because you might have names of people there so it needs to be shredded. But there was nothing of value that was in that bag.”
Responding to the claim that there were rape kits in the bag, the commissioner said there weren’t any. However, he conceded that the containers the rape kits are packaged in, along with gloves, had been found.
“There were no kits but there were some documents which we don’t know if it was still required by the station and there were some gloves that were found there that should be investigated but otherwise the other documents that were there were unwanted.”
Residents are requested to call their nearest police station if they discover any police documents or dockets.