Crack team to replace Botha
22 Feb 2013
PRETORIA — National police commissioner Riah Phiyega announced yesterday that she had assigned a team of renowned detectives to take over the murder case against paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
She told reporters in Pretoria that the investigating officer and state witness in Pistorius’s bail application, Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, would be removed from the investigating team.
“With the process of the bail application over, I … am appointing a new team to take the matter on a long haul and Lieutenant-General Vineshkumar Moonoo is leading that team.
Investigating officer Botha is not part of that team,” she said.
“The leader of the team [Moonoo] is the top detective in SAPS. He will be collaborating with the Gauteng provincial commissioner [Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros] to put together a formidable team to do this job,” said Phiyega.
Police confirmed earlier in the day that seven attempted murder charges were hanging over Botha’s head.
Phiyega said her office was aware of the events involving Botha that happened in 2011.
The charges against Botha were earlier provisionally withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“Upon finalisation of the initial investigation, the matter was referred to the NPA for a decision, which was received yesterday and that necessitated this announcement,” she said.
Police said earlier in the day that in 2011 Botha allegedly fired shots at the tyres of a minibus while pursuing a suspected murderer.
There were seven people in it at the time.
Botha is stationed at the peri-urban Boschkop police station east of Pretoria where is also acting commanding officer when required.
Speculation was rife over how the court would handle the news that Botha himself faces the attempted murder charges.
Regarding Botha’s performance in court, Phiyega denied that the police service had been embarrassed.
“There is nothing embarrassing for us … when we should be talking about embarrassing or a great performance, I am not a judge,” said Phiyega.
“We are continuing and putting our best foot forward.
“In my opinion, the SAPS is a very good service which can stand its own against other services in the world.”