Asserts the South African moderate-conservative columnist, about his country's controversial police force: "When news broke on Thursday morning that Hilton Botha, the lead detective in the prosecution of Oscar Pistorius, was facing attempted murder charges after firing at a minibus taxi carrying seven passengers in 2009, many began once again to wonder about the state of the South African police. So soon after the horrific shooting of 34 striking mine workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine last August by police, the Botha charges draw attention to this question: is democratic South Africa’s police service turning into a violent force akin to its apartheid predecessors?"
He continues his commentary: "The Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria has reported that the number of people shot dead by police doubled in the four years to 2010. Deaths in police custody or resulting from police action numbered 860 in 2009-2010, disturbingly higher than the period 2003-2008, when they averaged 695 a year. The police, of course, claim they are the victims, pointing to killings of police. This has been the narrative put forward to defend their dubiously 'tough' stance against citizens. Yet figures for police murders have dropped since 1994, when 265 officers were killed. The figure declined to 178 in 2000. Only 92 police officers were killed in the 12 months to March 2012. However, the government continues to paint a picture of a police service under siege, with [new police commissioner Bheki] Cele saying in 2011: 'A policeman should not die with his gun in his hand.'"