Home News Bungling detective in Pistorius case resigns

Bungling detective in Pistorius case resigns

Published on 07/03/2013

South African detective Hilton Botha said Thursday his resignation from the police force was not due to the bungled investigations in the murder case against Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, but added he felt he was left to "hang out to dry".

In an interview with a local radio station, Botha said he resigned because he had found a better paying job, and not because of the case against star sprinter Pistorius.

“I was looking for another job with a better pay for a long time now and I got this job that is gonna make me able to pay my son’s university for next year,” he told Jacaranda FM.

Police spokesman Neville Malila told AFP that Botha had quit the force on Wednesday, without elaborating.

“His resignation has been accepted. The reasons for his resignation is a matter between himself and the organisation, we are not going to make that public,” he said.

Botha was one of the force’s most experienced detectives with a 22-year career as a policeman.

But during Pistorius’s bail hearing last month over the Valentine’s Day killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Botha’s evidence was repeatedly picked apart by the defence.

He admitted in court that the investigation “could have been handled better,” conceding he may have contaminated the crime scene and that his team had failed to spot a bullet lodged in the toilet.

On Thursday however he gave further views of the investigation.

“The crime scene was dealt with very professionally, that’s what I think,” he said in the radio interview, yet complained that he did not get enough support at the onset of the probe.

He said he felt he was left to “hang out to dry and I was on my own for a while and when someone came to help it was almost too late,” he said.

Just days into the Pistorius case it then emerged that he was facing charges of attempted murder for shooting at a mini bus in 2011.

He was promptly replaced as the chief investigator in the Pistorius case by the country’s top detective.

On the re-opening of his murder case, which had been dropped in 2011, Botha said “I don’t know how that works. So we will see what happens.”

The criminal charges against Botha as well as his admission about failings in the Pistorius investigation have again shone an unflattering light on the police force in a country that is ranked one of the most violent in the world.

The force was accused of brutality after the Marikana mine tragedy in August where they shot 34 striking workers in the space of just a few minutes in a crackdown that shocked the world.

And just last week a Mozambican taxi driver died in custody after being handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged hundred of metres to the station. Eight officers have been arrested over the death.

Meanwhile the Pistorius case is due back in court in June. The double amputee athlete has admitted shooting Steenkamp repeatedly through a locked bathroom door, but says he mistook her for an intruder.

South Africa’s top detective, lieutenant general Vineshkumar Moonoo, has now been assigned to the case. Given his rank, the move is tantamount to sending an army general to frontline trenches.