Six police officers who allegedly stole around R37 900 from a car they stopped at a Pretoria roadblock were each granted R7 000 bail in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
They are expected to appear in court again on 26 June.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Monday that six members attached to the Brooklyn and Silverton police stations in Pretoria were arrested on Saturday after members of the Mpumalanga Anti-Corruption Unit received information that the officers had stolen more than R30 000 in cash from a group of people passing through a roadblock.
According to Naidoo, the police officers initially demanded a R100 bribe after realising that the driver of a sedan and two passengers were not in possession of required documentation. The money was allegedly stolen after the sedan was searched at the roadblock.
The Gauteng Department of Community Safety and the South African Police Service (SAPS) condemned the allegations of corruption levelled against the six officers.
In a statement, Gauteng community safety department spokesperson Ofentse Morwane said it was alleged that the officers stopped a vehicle with three occupants and requested a travelling permit, which the occupants didn’t have.
“A bribe of R100 was paid to the officers so that the car can pass the roadblock. The officers also proceeded to search the car and in the process, took the money. The matter was reported and a sting operation was conducted where the amount of R37 900.00 was found in possession of the officers,” Morwane said.
“Preliminary reports indicate that the officers also demanded bribes from other motorists who failed to provide the correct documentation including travelling permits.”
Since the beginning of the lockdown period on 26 March, law enforcement agencies in the province, led by the SAPS, have embarked on various operations across the province to enforce the regulations put in place by government to thwart the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“It is a matter of concern that, when the law enforcement agencies in the province are hard at work to enforce the disaster management lockdown regulations and arresting those contravening them, there are some corrupt officers who are using this an opportunity to advance their personal interests by conducting themselves in an improper manner.
“This conduct does not only negatively impact on public confidence in our law enforcement agencies, but also undermines our efforts towards making Gauteng a safe and secure province for all citizens.”
Morwane encouraged members of the public to report such behaviour at all times and to refrain from engaging in any form of corruption with law enforcement officers.
“This is to help us root out corrupt elements within the ranks of the law enforcement agencies and ensure that those who participate in such activities are dealt with accordingly without fear or favour. Such unethical behaviour is intolerable within the safety fraternity as it undermines the rule of law.
“We remain steadfast in our efforts to build reputable law enforcement agencies to fight the scourge of crime,” said Morwane.
Metro cops arrested
On 7 April, two members of the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) arrested a taxi driver for contravening Covid-19 regulations and detained him at the Bronkhorstspruit police station. The taxi owner allegedly paid a R1 500 bribe to the officers.
The taxi owner lodged a complaint at the police station and the officers were immediately arrested, charged with theft, corruption and defeating the ends of justice, according to Morwane.
Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said officers involved in illegal activities would continue to be dealt with.
“We will not hesitate to arrest and we will continue to arrest our members who engage in criminal activities. These members have shown that they are criminals and we will treat them as such. We cannot afford to have criminals who disguise with our uniform and badges while committing their illegal deeds.
“These arrests should send a message to other members who think of committing crimes while in the service. We also want to thank the community members who are coming forward to report our members who are seen committing crimes. No person is above the law and the law enforcement officers found committing crime will be dealt with decisively,” said Mawela.