The appearance in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday (October 17, 2018) by Brigadier Themba Denge, the head of the Vosloorus SAPS, follows an incident last October 2017, in which his service firearm was stolen from his vehicle.
At the end of the trial, the high-ranking official told Kathorus MAIL he was relieved the cases of negligence and failure to keep his service firearm in a secured, safe place were now “over and done with”.
He expressed deep remorse for his negligence.
The court found him guilty and fined him R10 000.
In court, both the State prosecutor, Angella Mooiman, and Denge’s defence team agreed that the brigadier had made a mistake. Both parties also concurred that the incident could have happened to anyone.
Humbling as it may have been for Denge, he bravely and openly admitted his mistakes. He said he believes the incident and the court process should be proof to all that there must be no “holy cows” when it comes to applying justice to all those caught on the wrong side of the law. The law applies to all levels of society, regardless of rank, class or creed, he explained.
Denge willingly submitted to the rigorous investigation process by the investigators.
He told Kathorus MAIL he believed the onus was on him, as a leader and a law enforcement officer, to admit to the court that negligently concealing his service firearm in the cubbyhole of his stationary vehicle, instead of securing it in a safe, was indeed a grave mistake by someone of his status.
He explained that his experience also showed him that anyone can and does make mistakes.
Denge said he understands the seriousness of his misdemeanour. He said at the back of his mind he was always mindful of the full, serious legal implications and consequences had his stolen service firearm been used to commit a crime.
The ballistic tests proved negative and no crime was linked to the firearm.
But just imagine the nightmare that might have ensued had the ballistic tests proved positive.
The mere thought of it should make every legal owner of a firearm shudder with fear.
He said the incident opened his eyes and mind to the importance of adhering to rules and regulations to keep society safe from harm.
Denge took to heart the court’s rebuke for violating the cardinal rule of gun ownership, which is to not misplace your firearm.
He humbly accepted the tongue lashing by the magistrate, with his head bowed low in regret.
But before passing sentence, the magistrate took into consideration the following:
• Denge reported the matter to the police.
• He took it upon himself to investigate the case, looked for the weapon and found it, and no crime was committed while the weapon was not in his possession.
However, the magistrate said the court was not going to ignore the seriousness of the case. The magistrate said the fact that the brigadier occupies a senior position in the police force means he is expected to set an example for his subordinates and the community.
“Action will be taken against you as you failed to do the right thing when you left the state firearm where it is was not safe to do so,” the magistrate said.
School violence and teenage pregnancy are out of control
Parents, teachers, school governing bodies (SGBs) and the public are shaken to the core by what seems to be a rather damning new culture of violence and immorality at township schools.
What is even more disturbing about the crime and sex in our schools is that not even school authorities seem capable of dealing with its negative impact on innocent learners who just want to carry on with their studies.
A rather dreadful example of this situation is that of a high school in Limpopo where a male learner was reported to have impregnated three female learners at the same school.
Stabbings and the recent murder of a teacher in Gauteng are also part of this new culture of violence at schools.
Of course, as I have said before, as a society we cannot continue to excuse this deplorable behaviour by our children.
The truth of the matter is that we should all be brave enough to dismantle this rotten culture for the good of all learners.
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