New lead investigator for Pistorius case

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pretoria - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega on Thursday announced that a new team of investigators, under the leadership of the Divisional Commissioner of Detective Services, Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo, will take over the investigation in the murder case involving athlete Oscar Pistorius.

Phiyega said the Pistorius case ''shall receive attention at the national level'' and Moonoo will ''gather a team of highly skilled and experienced detectives''.

“Lt General Moonoo shall lead the process of establishing a team of highly skilled and experienced unit of police detectives to continue with the investigation,” said Phiyega.

Moonoo, who Phiyega has described as SAPS’ top detective, will take over from Hilton Botha, who has been removed from the case as the lead investigating officer.

Botha testified against Pistorius in his application for bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court this week.

On Wednesday, charges were reinstated against Botha in connection with a 2011 shooting incident, in which he and two other officers allegedly fired at a minibus.

Phiyega said the police had been aware of the charges against Botha.

“The police were aware of the matter that occurred in 2011 and that it had been to court and provisionally withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority. Upon finalisation of the initial investigation, the matter was referred to the NPA for a decision, which was received yesterday and that necessitated today’s announcement,” she said.

She, however, stressed that Botha would not be suspended, but that they would wait for the outcome of the investigation.

“The Office of the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, in collaboration with the investigation team, shall pursue processes that are underway to deal with the criminal investigation and departmental processes regarding the matter of the investigator officer.”

She said Botha was highly experienced with 22 years of experience. –