Just a few months after a number of the police officials were arrested for involving in SA border crime, eight other officers have been arrested on corruption-related charges.
This is according to report from Police Authorities who noted that the arrested officers working at the Golela Border Post in KwaZulu-Natal were arrested for allowing smuggled goods.
According to reports from the Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker, the suspects whose ages ranged between 30 and 43, were arrested by officers from the national and province Counter Crime Intelligence Division as well as detectives in KZN for their involvement in SA border crime including taking bribes from smugglers of illegal vehicles and other goods across the border into Swaziland.
The eight were arrested after an eight-month long investigation into SA border crime revealed that the police officers were allegedly soliciting bribes to facilitate the movement of illegal goods across South Africa.
“Once enough evidence had been collected, the investigators applied for warrants of arrest which were granted and had to be executed.” said the Brigadier who also noted that a team headed to the Golela border on Tuesday where four police officers who were on duty at the time were arrested.
“Two other officers were off-duty and at the police barracks when they were also arrested. The last two police officers were arrested in Pongola.”
KZN Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa welcomed the arrests.
“Corruption within the ranks of the SAPS will not be tolerated. We have many thousands of fine upstanding police officers who will never accept criminal police officers in the SAPS.”
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula who had earlier vowed to track down criminals across the country- especially ones involved in the alarming SA border crimes, welcomed the arrests of the police officials, saying it was in line with his call to “get rid of corrupt elements within our ranks”.
“The police badge is an honour to serve not a right to be corrupt,” he said, adding that corrupt police officers days “are numbered”.
SAPS had revealed that in the 2016/17 financial year, 706 police officials had been arrested for criminal activities, compared to 725 in 2015/16.
This was followed by the arrest of ten police officers and eight home affairs officials who were allegedly extorting money from foreigners.
In a statement, acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane’s spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe, said the officials threatened Lesotho nationals who did not have the correct documentation and in some cases, they assisted these nationals to cross the border without the correct documentation required.
“During the duration of the investigation, officials were observed and it then became evident that our own were implicated,” she said, pointing out that the joint operation with the Hawks, at the Ficksburg port of entry into Lesotho and SA, led to their arrests.
“The arrest of our own is both disheartening and pleasing at the same time because this gives us an opportunity to identify the corrupt elements within the system,”
“Other members should draw lessons from this, and this should serve as a deterrence within our organisation to those officials who may be involved in corrupt-related activities,” Mathe added.
The national and province Counter Crime Intelligence Division, as well as detectives in KZN, has arrested eight SA police officers on corruption charges