No Decision yet on Govt Assuming Burial Costs of Police Shooting Victims

  • Minister says police liability is yet to be confirmed
  • Jurists call for independent authority to probe police behaviour


Amid calls for an independent arbiter in the killing of innocent bystanders by the police officers in a foiled robbery at Sefalana Trade Centre in Gaborone, thegovernment is yet to decide if it will get involved in funeral costs of burying the victims, the Minister of Defence and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has said.

Law enforcement agents allegedly killed two passersby who were mistaken for robbers but turned out to be employees of the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Sefalana.

However, Minister Mmusi has told The Botswana Gazette that the government is in contact with the families of the deceased.

Investigations ongoing
“No decision to assume the burial costs has been made yet because as you may be aware, investigations into the incident are still ongoing,” he said in an Interview. “But we continue to engagethe families.”

The fatal incident has ignited widespreaddebate on the modus operandi of the police that seems to emphasise overwhelming suspects to eliminate them without due care to the presence of passersby or bystanders even in built-up areas and the option of arresting suspects.

Renowned criminal lawyer Kgosiitsile Ngakaagae has mounted a social media campaign to persuade law enforcement agencies to review their ‘shoot-to-kill’approach that he blames for the recent deadly incident at Sefalana.

Breathing space
While some people are calling on Ngakaagae to give the government the breathing space that it needs toinvestigate the incident, some jurists are calling for the independent authorityto investigate the incident for the reason that the government cannot be judge and jury in a matter in which its agents may have been involved.

Meanwhile, South Africa has the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) which ensures independent oversight over the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Municipal Police Services (MPS), and conducts independent and impartial investigations of identified criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the SAPS.

South Africa also has a Military Ombudsman.