Johannesburg - Dozens of South African policemen have committed murders and rapes between March 2008 and March 2009, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said.
In a written response to a question in Parliament, Mthethwa said more than 600 police had been investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), which found some had also abused drugs and stolen property.
It is unclear how many faced criminal prosecution and if they are still in the police service, said the minister.
38 cops guilty of murder
"To obtain the information would be time-consuming. The redeployment of police employees to carry out this task would be to the detriment of other essential duties or service delivery to the community," said Mthethwa.
A copy of his response was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
The ICD found 38 policemen "guilty" of murder, 33 of attempted murder and 30 of rape. The highest number of offenses was for theft, with 108.
Questions of credibility
"The total number of members charged (committed crimes) in the financial year 2008/2009 were 669," said Mthethwa.
The findings could raise questions over the credibility of the Saps, charged with tackling one of the world's highest rates of violent crime and making the streets safe before the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
There were 18 487 murders, 36 190 rapes, and 14 201 reported hijackings in 2007-8, according to police.
About 50 people are murdered each day.