2008-08-07 : 'There can't be a cop on every corner'

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2008-08-07 : 'There can't be a cop on every corner'

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2008-10-21 14:46

'There can't be a cop on every corner'

People could not sue the police for negligence simply because there was
not a police officer on each and every corner of the country, the
Pretoria High Court was told on Thursday.

Counsel for Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula argued before
Pretoria High Court judge Ntikisela Poswa that he should not entertain a
R5,6-million damages claim by Krugersdorp businessman Byron Gerber
because there was no basis for his claim.

Gerber instituted a damages claim against the minister after being shot
several times during a robbery at his home in a Krugersdorp security
complex, which was protected by an electric fence and had entrance

Gerber, who was shot in the chest and arm, spent three months in
hospital, had to close down his tea garden and was later diagnosed with
post traumatic stress disorder.

He said he was now virtually unemployable.

He claimed in court papers the police had a duty in terms of the
constitution and Police Act to protect the life, limb and property of
each and every person in the country, but had failed in this legal duty
and could have prevented the incident.

He accused the minister of failing to comply with his legal duty by
employing police officers who could not read and write, not employing
enough policemen, not doing visible policing and not maintaining
vehicles properly.

"The police services are in general unable and not equipped to fulfil
the objectives and functions of the police services as set out in the
Constitution and the Police Act.

"The Defendant as political head does not have the political will nor
inclination to address the problems of the police services and the reign
of terror by criminals goes unabated.

"The citizens of South Africa are virtually imprisoned in their own
homes at night due to the failure of the police services to provide a
safe environment in public places," he added.

The minister objected to Gerber's claim, saying he had failed to set
out any details of any contractual wrong allegedly committed by him or
his servants and that the particulars of the claim did not disclose a
cause of action.

He said the constitution and the preamble of the Police Service Act did
not give rise to a claim for damages for actual losses suffered.

The claim did not disclose on what basis he alleged that the employment
of illiterate policeman and failure to provide visible policing and
efficient vehicles could give rise to the minister's liability for the
damages he suffered.

The hearing continues. - Sapa

Published on the Web by IOL on 2008-08-07 18:45:10
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