Hilton Botha, the lead detective in the murder case against Oscar Pistorius for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, has been replaced. It was discovered on Feb. 20 that he had seven charges of attempted murder reinstated early February.
Lt. General Vineshkumar Moonoo, the divisional commissioner of detective services in the South African Police Services (SAPS), has replaced Botha.
Years ago, Botha was chasing a man that murdered his girlfriend. South African police told media that Botha shot at a moving minivan with passengers inside. He was trying to stop the minivan.
Botha was charged in 2009, the charges were withdrawn, and the case was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), according to local media. Botha’s case was reinstated on Feb. 4, 10 days before Pistorius shot his girlfriend.
“The decision to reinstate was taken on February 4, way before the issue of Pistorius came to light or the murder of Reeva was committed,” NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku told Reuters. “It’s completely unrelated to this trial.”
Reports come from local journalists reporting live on Twitter. SAPS held a news conference on Feb. 21 after news broke about Botha’s attempted murder charges.
David Smith @SmithinAfrica, an African correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, tweeted on Feb. 21, at about 5 p.m. local time, “Phiyega: Investigation to be under ‘leadership and stewardship’ of divisional commander of detective services Lt-Gen General V Moonoo.”
Mangwashi Phiyega is the national police commissioner for the South African government. Smith reported on Twitter that Phiyega confirmed Botha is off the case, but she said that Botha “is an excellent officer” and “an experienced detective” with 22 years. She is appointing a new team—Botha will not be part of the team.
According to Smith, Phiyega said, “We do not lynch people… Officer Botha is still a member of SAPS, he is still working. He is not suspended.”
The third day for the Pistorius bail hearing was adjourned at 4 p.m. local time. South Africa is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST); it was 9 a.m. EST.
The bail hearing will resume Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. local time.
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