Opinion: Is SABC crew mugging case now getting special attention?

MARCH 12, 2015

Gauteng police are now offering a R100 000 reward  for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of two men who robbed the SABC news crew outside the Millpark Hospital on Tuesday night - raising questions if the case is now getting special attention and if police are under pressure to make arrests after footage of the robbery went viral across the world. 

This is not to say that the culprits should not be found and brought to book - far from it, we all want to see justice done; we all want to feel safe on the streets and in our homes and we want to know that the police can protect us or ensure that justice is delivered. Just that one wonders how many muggings recieve such attention.

Brazen robbery

SABC contributing editor, Vuyo Mvoko, News reporter, Chriselda Lewis, and Foreign Editor, Sophie Mokoena, were robbed a few seconds before going live outside the Milpark Hospital on Tuesday night.

The SABC was reporting on the Zambian President Edgar Lungu's arrival in South Africa to undergo possible surgery when about four armed men appeared and demanded their cellphones, laptops and broadcasting equipment – even threatening to shoot Mvoko.

Police spokesperson Noxolo Kweza says any information brought forward to help with their identification would help speed up the investigation.

“At this stage we're busy with the television footage and requesting the media if they could also show the faces so that people can be able to memorise the faces properly. That would also help a lot.”

Pressure on police to produce suspects in high-profile cases

Last year, the police were also under pressure to produce a suspect in the murder of former Bafana Bafana captain, Senzo Meyiwa and Reiger Park toddler Taegrin Morris.

"It happens in many other countries. They tend to prioritise highly publicised cases," Institute for Security Studies (ISS) crime and justice department senior researcher Johan Burger, told News24 then.

Even the NPA's Nathi Mncube told EWN that police succumb to the pressure of having to arrest someone, because of how big and highly publicised a criminal case is.

In the end, after arresting suspects in both the murders of Meyiwa and Morris, police released the men because it emerged there was not enough evidence to secure convictions.  

Meanwhile, the brazen robbery has been condemned from all corners of society.

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