Police Ministry slams "unbalanced" newspaper report

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pretoria - The Police Ministry has dismissed a newspaper report that claims that Minister Nathi Mthethwa issued an instruction for two Johannesburg boys to be arrested for allegedly raping a schoolgirl.

The ministry has slammed an article in Wednesday's Star newspaper as "unbalanced" and described the claims as "unfounded."

The article, relating to the release of two schools boys who were arrested for last week's rape of a teenage girl at the Jules High School, quotes a source as saying that Mthethwa issued an instruction for the boys to be arrested.

In a statement, the ministry challenged the Star to prove when, where and to whom the instruction was made; pointing out that Mthethwa was out of the country from 8 to 10 November and was not briefed or updated about the rape case.

"A shockingly and below-par-media practice from the reporters concerned, is the fact that they did not even attempt to verify the claims from their sources (if indeed they do exist) with the minister's spokesperson or the minister himself.

"To even attribute such as quote to a faceless source, on its own raises serious suspicions. Such unbalanced reporting is not only misleading to the public but further creates exacerbates undeserved trauma to the affected victim," the statement said.

The ministry cautioned the newspaper against irresponsible media practices, urging it to help combat crime through objective reporting.

It also stressed that the minister was the political head of the SAPS, responsible for steering the policy and legislative direction, and that all investigations, irrespective of who was involved, was handled by the SAPS head office, provincial offices and local police stations.

Meanwhile, the case against the boys has been dismissed due to inadmissible evidence. NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga on Tuesday said they had come to a decision that the matter could not be placed on the court-roll due to insufficient evidence.