Friday, December 11, 2009

MAB awards rape cops

Panel member, Burger Van Der Merwe, Lithle Petros and Monique Strydom

For more than five years one of South Africa’s worst serial rapists, Tsediso Letsoenya, prayed on women in the Cape Flats. He was so arrogant that he would not pray on lone women, but would target couples or small groups of friends. The way he instructed the victims, as well as how victims described his demeanour and mannerisms, made the investigating team suspect that he might have had military training. After many months of investigation, Letsoenya was arrested and this year he was found guilty several charges including 28 accounts of rape. In July 2009 he was sentenced to five life sentences and a further 243 years of imprisonment.
Today, two of the cops who put him behind bars, received recognition for their efforts, when the where awarded the Matla A Bana Outstanding Service award. Supt Alma Wiese, who was the project leader and Inspector Mbuya, both based at the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, spent endless hours looking for this rapist. The trail judge, Mr Justice J Motala, said that he would like to commend the work of the members of SAPS for they have clearly devoted much time and effort and their dedication and diligence deserves the highest praise.
The Matla A Bana Incentive awards is hosted in the Western Cape twice a year and this community initiative is to recognise members of the SAPS FCS units who have excelled in the arrest and conviction of perpetrators of crimes against women and children.
Guest speaker, Mr Gasant Adaber (Executive Editor Cape Argus), said in his speech that the public need to be made aware of the outstanding service delivered by dedicated police officers. He also said that the media should work much closer with the police in assisting to find missing children. He used the case of the two children who went missing on route to their mother this week and said the media can assist in finding the children by running these stories. The public however needs to get the info to the media much quicker and the police need to update the media on the progress.
Three other FCS detectives were awarded in the Best Performer Category, based on their arrest rates, conviction rates and community involvement. The top FCS detective in the Western Cape went to Inspector Borg stationed at George FCS, who serves an area or 200 kilometres and 7 police stations. He secured 93 years in sentencing and had a 96% arrest rate for the period. Second and third prize went to Inspector Hendricks (Khayelitsha FCS) and Inspector Mostert (Worcestor FCS) respectively. Both these members have arrest rates of more than 95%.
Businessman, Peter Van Niekerk owner of Cape Garden Centre, was the one of two recipients of the Service Excellence Award for his support to the Child Protection Units and Matla A Bana. Commissioner Petros (WC Provincial Commissioner) the second recipient was awarded for his persistence in not decentralising the FCS units and his dedication to working with NGO’s to help child victims. His fifteen year old daughter, Lithle Petros received the award, as well as a special Build –A-Bear dressed in a golf outfit complete with golf clubs! Apparently the commissioner is on a well-deserved break playing golf somewhere!
In her closing, Matla A Bana CEO, Monique Strydom, used the example the book Chicken Soup of the Soul, which was rejected 140 times before it was published and sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, to inspire these police detectives to not give up. She said that they were indeed the guardians of the city who had to look after our children.

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