South Africa arraigns 10 cops for stealing cigarettes, R250K cash
London, July 3, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Ten police officers based in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa were arrested on Thursday by the province’s anti-corruption unit for their alleged involvement in two separate incidents of theft and corruption, the provincial police commissioner said.
Lieutenant general Khombinkosi Jula said the arrests proved SAPS was working to rid corruption within its own ranks.
The first incident involved three officers who stopped a car in Unit 5 of Chatsworth on May 8. The occupants of the vehicle had gone to the area to buy cigarettes. As they left the premises, they were stopped by the officers, who were travelling in an unmarked police vehicle.
The police officers questioned them and searched their vehicle. The police officers then stole five cases of cigarettes as well as R 4,000 in cash from them,” said senior KZN police spokesperson, brigadier Jay Naicker.
He said that when the complainant went to the police station to ask about his case, he realised that the seized items had not been handed in.
The complainant subsequently reported the matter to the provincial anti-corruption unit.
The three officers were arrested for corruption and theft, and would be appearing in the Chatsworth magistrate’s court on Friday.
Regarding the second incident, a complainant said that while he was at his shop in Unit 3 of Chatsworth, he was approached by seven police officers who accused him of selling cigarettes.
“Following a search of the premises, the police officers charged him with selling cigarettes and for bribing them with R20 000 in cash,” said Naicker. “When the man returned to his shop, he realised that the [police officers] had removed two boxes containing R250 000 in cash as well as cigarettes.”
The shop owner reported the theft at the Chatsworth police station, which referred the matter to the provincial anti-corruption unit. The seven suspects would also be appearing in the Chatsworth magistrate’s court on Friday.
“We expect more arrests as investigations into their involvement in similar crimes are ongoing,” said Naicker.
Jula said the “breakthrough” confirmed that citizens had confidence in the ability of the police to take serious action against its own members. “We remain steadfast in our belief that this is the ultimate manner in which we can clean our house and we wish to thank members of the community that have shown a willingness to work with us.”
The sale of cigarettes has been banned as part of South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.